The Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM) is an award of the U.S. military and was established on January 11th, 1996. The AFSM is given to personnel who partake in "significant activity" for which no other service or campaign medal is accredited. The term "significant activity" is determined by theater commanders and is usually deemed to be participation in a U.S. military operation considered to hold a high degree of scope, impact, and international significance that the operation warrants the presentation of a permanent service medal. The individual standard for the AFSM specifies that a service member must achieve at least 30 consecutive days in a geographical theater region to qualify for the decoration. Aircrew personnel may attain the award if a total of 30 mission days was performed flying into and out of the given area.
As an authorized Department of Defense exception to policy, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the AFSM can be granted concurrently for the following Operations in Yugoslavia: Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, and Hungary (Operation Joint Guard) 20 December 1996 - 20 June 1998; and Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, Italy, Hungary (Operation Joint Endeavor) 20 November 1995 - 19 December 1998. The AFSM was also given to U.S. Forces in relation to Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Rita relief efforts for 30 consecutive or 60 accumulated days from 27 August 205 - 27 February 2006. Additional awards are the AFSM are denoted by service stars.