The Defense Superior Service Medal (DSSM) is the second highest award bestowed by the Department of Defense. Awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense, the award is presented to members of the U.S. Armed Forces who perform "superior meritorious service in a position of significant responsibility." Created on February 6th, 1976 by President Gerald R. Ford's Executive Order 11904, it is typically awarded only to senior officers of the Flag and General Officer grade.
The Defense Meritorious Service Medal (DMSM) is an award presented in the name of the Secretary of Defense to members of the Armed Forces. It is the third-highest award that the Department of Defense issues, and is awarded to those who distinguish themselves though non-combat meritorious service or achievement, in a joint capacity. Created on November 3rd, 1977 by President Jimmy Carter's Executive Order 12019, it was first awarded to Major Terrell G. Covington of the United States Army.