To a large extent, the Air and Space Campaign Medal (ASCM) owes its existence to the impact that technology has had on the way that war is waged.
Established by the Secretary of the Air Force on April 24, 2002, the ASCM is awarded to members of the United States Air Force who are not eligible for the Kosovo Campaign Medal (and similar Department of Defense Campaign medals) because they did not physically enter the campaign’s area of eligibility (AOE). Specifically, the ASCM is awarded only to personnel who provided direct support of combat operations from outside a geographic area determined by the Joint Chief of Staff, i.e., the AOE, during an operation that has been designated by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force to be ASCM-approved.
In short, the ASCM and its eligibility requirements were crafted to recognize the important role that Airmen can play even when they are hundreds or thousands of miles away from the operational area. This is made explicit in the definition of “direct support,” to wit, “deploying in support of an ASCM-approved operation or if performing functions at home station or from outside the geographic area of combat which historically were forward deployed, or entirely new and future missions, which due to technological advances are no longer constrained by geographical location.”
To qualify for the ASCM, Air Force personnel must provide direct support for 30 consecutive or 60 cumulative days during one of these operations, performing their support duties at their home stations or from outside the geographic area of combat. Personnel may not receive both the ASCM and DoD Campaign/Service medal for any single tour of an ASCM-approved operation. While multiple awards of the ASCM for duty during a single ASCM operation is prohibited, bronze stars are authorized for wear for subsequent ASCM awards for different missions.