The criteria for issuance of awards by the U.S. Department of the Army are contained in Army Regulation 600-8-22: Military Awards and Regulation 672-20, which pertains to civilian employees. Specifics related to the appropriate placement and display of medals and ribbons are found in Army Regulation 670-1: Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia and the Army Service Uniform Wear Policy.
The U.S. Army uses military awards, medals and ribbons to recognize excellence in performance and service. Awards can be granted for acts of valor, exceptional service or achievement, special skills or qualifications and acts of heroism not involving actual combat.
Anyone with knowledge of a service member's outstanding act or achievement can recommend someone receive an award by submitting a Department of the Army Form 638 within two years of the act that is to be recognized. Final approving authority for granting the award varies according to the specific award or decoration.
Medals, ribbons and other decorations must be worn in a specific arrangement, detailed in U.S. Army regulations.
The U.S. Army also provides both monetary and honorary incentive awards for civilian employees for inventions, superior accomplishments and exemplary performance. Civilians can receive honorary and public service awards.