This general service award has been created as a means to recognize – in a timelier manner – members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and members of allied forces serving with the CAF who deploy outside of Canada - but not necessarily into a theatre of operations - who provide direct support, on a full-time basis, to operations in the presence of an armed enemy. The GSM may also be awarded, depending on the operation, to Canadian citizens other than members of the Canadian Armed Forces, who are deployed outside Canada, either inside or outside a theatre of operations and working with the Canadian Armed Forces to provide direct support, on a full-time basis, to operations in the presence of an armed enemy.
Rather than creating a new honour for each new Canadian Armed Forces operation as it arises, the General Service Medal – with its theatre or service specific ribbons – can be awarded in future to honour participation in any operation that meets the criteria.
This program is managed by the Directorate of Honours and Recognition (DH&R) at the Department of National Defence. The Chancellery of Honours, on behalf of the Governor General, is responsible for the administration of the award of all Canadian honours. However, for many military service medals, this responsibility has been delegated to DH&R, which processes nominations for these medals. For more information, please visit the DH&R website.