The Reserve Force Decoration may be awarded to an officer who has, on or after 14 February 1975 and before 20 April 1999, completed 15 years efficient remunerated commissioned service in the Reserve Forces. A minimum of 12 years as a commissioned officer in the Reserve and up to 3 years as a commissioned officer in the Regular Forces (to total 15 years) can be counted towards the medal only.
Clasps are awarded for each additional period of five years efficient commissioned Reserve service after qualifying for the medal. Regular service does not qualify towards clasps for this award.
From 20 April 1999 the Reserve Force Decoration was replaced by the Defence Long Service Medal. However, clasps can still be issued in accordance with the eligibility criteria.
The medal is an oval cupro-nickel medal surrounded by a gilt wreath of wattle. The obverse has the Joint Service Emblem on a rayed background. The reverse is inscribed 'FOR EFFICIENT SERVICE IN THE RESERVE FORCES'.
The ribbon has three equal stripes of azure-blue and gold. The colours were the national colours of Australia at the time of introduction.
The clasp is a gilt bar with the Royal Cypher flanked by sprigs of wattle in the centre.
When the ribbon is worn alone a clasp is indicated by the addition of a cupro-nickel oval rosette or a silver miniature Federation Star.
The first four clasps to the medal are indicated by rosettes. These are replaced by a single silver Federation Star for the fifth clasp. Additional Federation Star emblems are added for subsequent clasps.
The medal is worn in the position notified by the Governor-General in The Order of Wearing Australian Honours and Awards.