The Australian Operational Service Medal (AOSM) was instituted on 22 May 12. The medal was established to provide recognition to Defence personnel involved in declared operations or other service that the Chief of the Defence Force deems to be worthy of recognition.
The AOSM succeeds the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) and the Australian Service Medal (ASM). Operations recognised by these medals will continue to be recognised by the AASM or the ASM, for example Operation SLIPPER.
In order to ensure the medal remains appropriate and fit for purpose in recognising Defence personnel involved in contemporary operations, the eligibility criteria are regularly reviewed by the Directorate of Honours and Awards. This is to reflect operation start and end dates, changes to operation areas, and other amendments as required. This has occurred three times since the introduction of the medal.
The latest review, in early 2019, resulted in amendments to the eligibility criteria of the AOSM - Greater Middle East Operation and the AOSM - Border Protection. These were endorsed and gazetted by the former Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) on 23 May 2019.
Provision exists for the award of an accumulated service device to denote those who undertake multiple tours on a particular operation. Currently, this is only available for the AOSM Greater Middle East Operation.
For ADF members, the AOSM will be awarded as the standard medal with a unique ribbon for each operation.
For Defence civilians and other classes of civilian who are employed on ADF operations under the provisions of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982, the AOSM is in the form of the standard medal with a unique civilian service ribbon. Each operation will be denoted by a clasp to the medal. Accumulated service devices are not issued with the civilian variant of the AOSM.
Regulations (Gazette S67) of 6 June 2012 and Regulations Amendment of 30 April 2015 and 13 July 2020.