The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is the second highest military decoration that is awarded to a member of the U.S. Army. It is given as a reward for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force.
The following is a federal statute that defines the term.
According to 10 USCS § 3742, the President may award a distinguished-service cross of appropriate design, with ribbons and appurtenances, to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguishes himself/herself by extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a medal of honor-
1) while engaged in an action against an enemy of the U.S.;
2) while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
3) while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the U.S.is not a belligerent party.