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Employee Awards and Recognition

DHS achievements are the result of the collective effort of dedicated DHS employees. The DHS Secretary's Awards Program celebrates excellence across the Department. The program includes the Secretary’s Annual Employee Awards and the Secretary’s Honorary Awards. Each year, the Secretary honors individuals and teams from across DHS whose hard work and exemplary accomplishments have personified the very best of the Department.

Secretary’s Annual Employee Awards

An awards review board, made up of high-level component representatives, vets the nominations from across the Department and then makes recommendations to the Secretary, who makes the final decision on all award recipients. The recipients are honored in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.  These awards are:

  • Secretary’s Exceptional Service Gold Medal
  • Secretary’s Meritorious Service Silver Medal
  • Secretary’s Award for Valor
  • Secretary’s Award for Exemplary Service
  • Secretary’s Award for Excellence
  • Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diversity Management
  • Secretary’s Award for Volunteer Service

Secretary’s Honorary Awards

These awards are generally equivalent to, but differ from the Annual Employee Awards in that the Secretary or Deputy Secretary can grant them throughout the year. These awards are usually presented by the employee’s Component Head at a gathering with the employee’s colleagues present, but never at the annual awards ceremony.

The department grants the following awards based on nominations received from component Leadership to the Under Secretary for Management, who makes recommendation to the Secretary for final decision. The Secretary and Deputy Secretary can also directly nominate eligible individuals and groups for these honorary awards.

  • DHS Distinguished Service Medal (Civilian)
  • DHS Distinguished Service Medal (Military)
  • DHS Distinguished Public Service Medal
  • DHS Outstanding Service Medal
  • DHS Outstanding Public Service Medal

Component Honorary Awards

DHS components maintain a variety of awards specifically tailored to recognize employee accomplishments at the component level.

Last Published Date: June 2, 2017

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