The National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal (NIDSM) is a decoration awarded for service to the
United States Intelligence Community United may refer to: Places * United, Pennsylvania, an unincorporated community * United, West Virginia, an unincorporated community Arts and entertainment Films * ''United'' (2003 film), a Norwegian film * ''United'' (2011 film), a BBC Two fi ...
. The decoration is awarded to any member or contributor to the National Intelligence Community, either civilian or military, who distinguishes themselves by meritorious actions to the betterment of national security in the United States of America, through sustained and selfless service of the highest order. The National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal was once considered junior to the older National Security Medal. With the establishment of the National Intelligence Awards (NIA) Program by the
Office of the Director of National Intelligence The director of national intelligence (DNI) is a senior, cabinet-level United States government official, required by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to serve as executive head of the United States Intelligence Comm ...
(ODNI), the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal was the highest decoration in the program. An update to the NIA program added awards and changed precedence, with the NIDSM being succeeded by the Intelligence Community Medal for Valor in the order of precedence. As an authorized U.S. non-military decoration on U.S. military uniforms, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal is worn after U.S. military unit awards and before U.S. military campaign and service awards.


The National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal is a gold colored medal across. The
obverse Obverse and its opposite, reverse, refer to the two flat faces of coins and some other two-sided objects, including paper money, flags, seals, medals, drawings, old master prints and other works of art, and printed fabrics. In this usage, '' ...
design consists of a white 16 pointed star surmounted by a gold heraldic rose. In the center of the rose is a dark blue disc bearing an eight pointed compass rose in gold. The reverse bears the words ''NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE'', one word on each line, all in gold. The medal's ribbon, which is from the original, is wide. The ribbon is white with blue stripes at both edges. In the center is a scarlet stripe flanked by yellow stripes. Symbolically, the heraldic rose is a symbol of secrecy and confidence, referring to the term ''
sub rosa ''Sub rosa'' (New Latin for "under the rose") denotes secrecy or confidentiality. The rose has an ancient history as a symbol of secrecy. History In Hellenistic and later Roman mythology, roses were associated with secrecy because Cupid ga ...
'' which is Latin for "under the rose." That symbol has traditionally been used to describe something to be kept secret and not repeated elsewhere. Blue represents loyalty, and is taken from the seal of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The compass rose in the center of the medal symbolizes the world-wide mission of the organization, while the points of the white star also allude to compass points. The white color represents honesty, truth and optimism.

Known recipients

Recipients gallery

File:Barack Obama James L Jones and James R Clapper 20101020.jpg,
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama was the first African-American president of the ...
and James R. Clapper presented the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal to James L. Jones. (October 20, 2010)

See also

* Distinguished Service Medal (disambiguation) * Awards and decorations of the United States government


{{Reflist Distinguished Service Medal, National Intelligence Awards established in 1993