The Distinguished Warfare Medal was canceled by the Pentagon on Sunday. The medal, which was rolled out for cyber warfare troop, was nixed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Hagel concluded that the medal was a bad idea after some veterans and lawmakers spoke out against the new award. They argued that it would be unfair to create the medal, which had a higher honor than some issued for valor on the battlefield.
The new medal was one of former defense secretary Leon Panetta’s last official moves. But when he started in office, Hagel ordered a review of the policy. After that, the new head of the Pentagon stated on Monday that the medal was not needed.
Instead of getting the Distinguished Warfare Medal, cyber warfare achievements will have a “device” affixed to an existing medal. The token will represent that the service member flies and operates drones, which Hagel called “critical to our military’s mission of safeguarding the nation.”
Devices are typically used by the Pentagon to denote a specific form of additional achievement for an officer who has been honored with exceptional performance. John E. Hamilton, the head of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), praised Hagel’s prompt response when dealing with the Distinguished Warfare Medal. Hamilton stated:
“This decision will clearly keep medals that can only be earned in combat in their high order of precedence, while providing proper recognition to all who support our warfighters regardless of their distance from the fight.”
The Distinguished Warfare Medal was announced by Panetta on February 13, who stated that the evolution of combat deserved a new inclusion for men and women who use drones. The announcement was immediately met with criticism because the new honor was ranked higher than the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
The Pentagon also stated that, during its short lifespan, no one was nominated for the medal.
Do you think Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was right to get rid of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was nicknamed the Drone Warfare Medal by critics?