UK Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has been awarded the Pentagon's highest civilian honour for the British armed forces' role in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Hoon recently said British troops would be in Iraq for some time
The Distinguished Public Service Award was given to Mr Hoon by his US counterpart, Donald Rumsfeld, at a small ceremony at the Pentagon.
It was awarded in recognition for Mr Hoon's leadership role in the war on terror, a top US official said.
It was also a gesture of thanks for the role UK armed forces played in Iraq.
The Bush administration has described the work of British armed forces in "liberating" Iraq as "instrumental".
Mr Hoon was in Washington for talks with Mr Rumsfeld and other top American officials, including National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice.
The discussions were expected to focus on Iraq, Afghanistan and other security issues.
The defence secretary's visit comes at a time when the US is on a heightened alert level.