Medals NEWS 2/2011

Honours and Recognition Newsletter
Vol. 5 Issue 1, February 2011

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Review of the NATO Bar to the Special Service Medal

The Special Service Medal (SSM) recognizes members of the CF “who have performed a service determined to be under exceptional circumstances, in a clearly defined locality for a specific duration”. The medal is always issued with a bar that identifies the special service being recognized.

NATO Bar to the Special Service Medal

The NATO bar to the SSM was created to recognize those who served under NATO in and around Europe and on the Atlantic at the height of the Cold War. Since then, the Cold War has ended and it is clear that the exceptional circumstances that justified the creation of the NATO bar no longer exist and that most regular service under NATO such as staff or support work in Europe is in fact routine performance of military duty.

The credibility and respect for the Medal was at stake and consequently, the award of the NATO bar was suspended on 19 October 2004 pending the outcome of a comprehensive review of the award. The review has now been completed and has two main effects. Firstly, the geographical limitations which existed in the regulations have been removed to reflect the world-wide involvement of NATO in modern times and secondly, eligibility for the bar has been restricted to overseas operational service under NATO command which is not recognized by a NATO medal, provided the service meets the intent of the SSM itself.

Review of the NATO Bar to the Special Service Medal Those in NATO positions or operations on 19 October 04 continue to qualify under the old rules until the end of that posting or deployment only. The new regulations apply to those who have been posted to a NATO position or served on a NATO operation or tasking since 20 October 2004. Eligibility is now limited to those specific tasks which are approved by the CDS in consultation with Armed Forces Council on the recommendation of the CF Honours Committee. So far, five tasks have been approved as eligible:

Under the new rules, staff, logistical and administrative duties as well as training and exercises are excluded from qualification.

This measure is a realignment with the Government policy and the original criteria of the SSM and is necessary to preserve the credibility of the SSM and of the honours system.

Issued by the Directorate of Honours and Recognition (DH&R) Feb 2011 Telephone 1-877-741-8332