Campaign Stars for Afghanistan and Iraq Medals

The Department of Defense announced yesterday that campaign stars are authorized for wear on the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (ACM) and Iraq Campaign Medal (ICM). That’s no real surprise; the wars have been going on for quite some time and the practice is typical.

I was initially authorized two campaign stars for my Southwest Asia Service Medal, one each for Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Nearly two years later — after I was already out of the Army — they decided that I had actually participated in a third “campaign,” the postwar ceasefire period.

The “campaign phases” for both wars are somewhat interesting:

(1) Liberation of Afghanistan — Sep. 11, 2001 to Nov. 30, 2001.

(2) Consolidation I — Dec. 1, 2001 to Sep. 30, 2006.

(3) Consolidation II — Oct. 1, 2006 to a date to be determined.

Consolidation I and Consolidation II are rather amusing. One would think consolidation would either be accomplished or not. I’m guessing the latter.

For Iraq, the phases are more surreal:

(1) Liberation of Iraq — March 19, 2003 to May 1, 2003.

(2) Transition of Iraq — May 2, 2003 to June 28, 2004.

(3) Iraqi Governance — June 29, 2004 to Dec. 15, 2005.

(4) National Resolution — Dec. 16, 2005 to a date to be determined.

One would think “national resolution” would be a prerequisite to “governance.”

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, Iraq War, Military Affairs, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    As long as they don’t give one to coward John Kerry so he is unable to throw it at Jane Fonda, this seems like a good idea.

    They should also establish a merit badge for waterboarding.

  2. Ugh says:


  3. James Joyner says:

    The Pentagon loves “liberation.” My second campaign star, for Desert Storm, is technically for a phase called “The Liberation of Kuwait.” I also received, after getting out of the service, two medals called “The Liberation of Kuwait Medal,” one from the government of Saudi Arabia and the other from the government of Kuwait. Oddly, the second one came much later.