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Defence Honours & Awards

Foreign Awards

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal with Clasp ‘ISAF’


In order for Australian personnel to officially accept and wear a foreign award, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) medal, a formal offer needs to be made to the Australian Government by the country or international organisation wishing to confer the award.

In 2007, the Commander International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) General Dan K McNeill, offered the NATO ISAF to the Australian Government. The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston announced that the NATO ISAF had been formally accepted for wear by Australian Defence Force (ADF) members for their service in Afghanistan in support of the ISAF. Defence civilians working with ISAF are also eligible for the award.


The medal is awarded for participation in NATO-led operations conducted in Afghanistan. ADF members must complete 30 continuous days (or sorties) within a single tour while force assigned to Operation SLIPPER and serving in the NATO Area of Operations (AOO) commencing on or after 28 July 2006. From 1 January 2011, personnel can accumulate their service, but must complete 60 days (or sorties) within a two year period.

Aircrew will accumulate 1 day of service for the first sortie flown of any day in the designated AOO. Additional sorties flown on the same day will receive no further credit. This requirement exists for support as well as combat aircraft.

The medal will not be awarded to any member convicted of serious misconduct or crimes during their period of service within the AOO.

The qualifying period is not required in the event of death in action, missing presumed killed in action or evacuation from the operational area in the event of injury while on duty within the AOO.


The medal is supplied by NATO for presentation to eligible personnel. It is not inscribed with an individual’s service details and it does not come with a miniature.

Personnel deploying from 1 January 2011 who are eligible to receive the ISAF clasp will also receive a small clasp to be worn on the ribbon bar.

Multiple-Tour Indicator

NATO has amended the qualifying criteria for the medal to include the awarding of multiple-tour indicators (MTI) for members returning to the same NATO operation or activity commencing after 1 January 2011. There must be a break of at least 180 days between deployments before an indicator can be awarded.

NATO ISAF ribbon bar with numeral 2 - Click to open image in new window

Example of ribbon bar issued from 1 January 2011.

Order of Wear

See Order of Wearing for Foreign Awards.

Honours and Awards Manual

Chapter 35 Foreign Awards


If you are entitled to the NATO medal or MTI and have not received it, please apply to the Task Group Afghanistan Chief Clerk at . Applications must be made within two years. Any applications outside of this will be assessed by NATO as not eligible.

The names of eligible members are sent to DH&A through administrative channels in the MEAO. Nomination lists and individual applications are verified before being processed for approval by the Governor-General. Once approval notification is received, DH&A updates PMKeyS to reflect the award. The medal and MTI cannot be mounted or worn until it has been approved for wear and recorded on PMKeyS.

There are instances where members are omitted from a certified list. In these cases, an Application for Approval to Accept and Wear Foreign Awards with a certified true copy of the award certificate must be submitted. It is not sufficient to provide flying log books or printouts of operational logs, as they do not prove receipt of the award.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal with Clasp 'ISAF' - Obverse - Click to open high resolution version in new window

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal with Clasp 'ISAF' - Reverse - Click to open high resolution version in new window

Click image for full resolution