Defence Force Service Medal

Defence Force Service Medal (obverse) Defence Force Service Medal (reverse)

To qualify for a Defence Force Service Medal (DFSM), a member is required to complete 15 years of efficient remunerated service prior to 20 April 1999 and must have been serving on or after 14 February 1975. Clasps are awarded for each further periods of 5 years efficient regular service. Reserve service and Continuous Full Time service in the Reserve does not qualify towards clasps for this medal.  From 20 April 1999 the DFSM was replaced by the Defence Long Service Medal.

A minimum of 12 years in the Regular Forces and up to 3 years in the Reserves can be counted towards the medal.

Note: Qualifying service for clasps can be accrued after 19 April 1999.


The DFSM is a cupro-nickel circular chamfered medal. The obverse has the Joint Service Emblem. The reverse is inscribed 'FOR EFFICIENT SERVICE IN THE PERMANENT FORCES' around the circumference.


The DFSM clasp is a cupro-nickel bar with the Royal Cypher flanked by sprigs of wattle in the centre. When the ribbon is worn alone a clasp is indicated by the addition of a cupro-nickel round rosette, or a silver miniature Federation Star.

DFSM Ribbon Bar Rosette

DFSM Ribbon Bar Fed Star

The first four clasps to the medal are indicated by rosettes. These are replaced by a single silver Federation Star for the fifth clasp. Additional Federation Star emblems are added for subsequent clasps.


The DFSM ribbon has three equal stripes of gold and azure-blue edged with azure-blue. The colours were the national colours of Australia at the time of introduction.

Honours and Awards Manual

Chapter 29 DFSM

Web page last updated 22 October, 2013