If the GSM(1918, 1962, 2008 )was for ops that didn’t qualify for their own medal and the OSM was to replace the GSM 62 for minor ops, what is exactly the difference between these two now? Bar one can accrue bars.
The OSM was instituted in 1999 to replace the GSM 62. Then they brought out the GSM 2008, along with a number of new clasps. So we now have two “minor campaign” medals running concurrently. Yet, op Shader now is a OSM, rather than a bar on the GSM 2008.
Stop trying to make sense of something that doesn't. The OSMs were meant to replace the GSM62 with differing ribbons rather than clasps (allowing existing GSM ops to time out) for 'small ops' (like AFG... which was only meant to last thirteen weeks and not thirteen years). Then someone decided to add rosettes and clasps to the OSMs - some of which (sort of) made sense to differentiate ops & theatre, and some of which made no sense whatsoever eg DROC - which was awarded with a clasp for some odd reason. Still with me?
The new GSM08 'should' have killed the badly-thought-out OSM dead. Until some bright spark decided to breathe new life into the OSM for Op Shader - both with and without clasps... again.
Had the new GSM08 clasps been better thought-out with (say) a far more sensible MIDDLE EAST clasp (which, let's face it was hardly a surprise) rather than the more specific ARABIAN PENINSULA clasp (which is geographically removed from Syria, though Iraq is part thereof), then the GSM08 would have sufficed. I suspect it's a case of geographic semantics and using up stocks of OSMs - a laudable economic expedient somewhat nullified by having to design and manufacture an entirely new clasp and ribbon at some cost that's bound to be not insignificant.
So, as I thought. A bad system.
Shader also seems to have made a distinct move away from the “risk and rigour” part (and yes I know you could argue that also) by qualifying people based in the UK for it.
Think it’s probably time to have a revisit to our medal system, and look at what we are trying to do.
The thin pinstriped line did a decent blog on similar not long ago. I’d advocate the GSM and clasp stays along with any new campaign medal and the OSM gets one new “catch all” ribbon which encompasses everything from
Humanitarian work, to the RN counter piracy and MT1.2 to the current Baltic deployment.
The new GSM should indeed stay and 'should' have sufficient legs for it to last another half century or so (given the broad brush clasp zones)... or until someone comes up with another shit idea. It will compliment the 'bigger war' medals that will undoubtedly surface over time - which is exactly what it's supposed to do. Continuing with the OSM only muddies the waters and it should be scrapped.
A humanitarian medal had been mooted for some time and (in my view) is long-overdue. The Ebola Medal was a missed opportunity to address this. One thing for certain though, is that any future medal panel needs a consultant who really knows their shit on it. I aint it, though I know a man who can.