Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Editorial: An unnecessary award

Mar. 18, 2013 - 12:36PM   |  
  • Filed Under

In one of his first moves as defense secretary, Chuck Hagel has halted production of the controversial Distinguished Warfare Medal and ordered a review of its precedence in the military awards hierarchy, where the new medal outranks the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

His next step should be to scrap the medal entirely — not because its intended recipients are undeserving of recognition — they most certainly are — but because this new award is unnecessary.

Designed to acknowledge combat actions performed by unmanned aircraft pilots and cyberwarfare specialists, the Distinguished Warfare Medal was approved in mid-February by Hagel’s predecessor, Leon Panetta, as he was leaving office. Instantly, it was met with overwhelming disapproval from active-duty personnel and veterans alike, who say such precedence diminishes the value of other awards reserved for actions outside the wire, where bullets fly and blood is shed.

Panetta’s motive was on point in seeking to honor communities that make hugely important contributions to the war effort but whose deeds take place far from the dusty war zone. But with revised guidance, these troops could be pinned with existing awards — everything from a service commendation medal, for example, to a Distinguished Flying Cross — and avoid altering the order of precedence.

Hagel may feel conflicted about reversing his predecessor’s decision, but the Vietnam War vet, himself the recipient of two Purple Hearts and other combat awards, must not allow personal politics to color his judgment. By dropping the Distinguished Warfare Medal and issuing guidance on how to properly honor cyber and remote-control warriors, the new defense secretary will show his troops that he values their input and honors their service.

And that will go a long way toward earning their respect.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Marine Corps Times

This Week's Marine Corps Times

Best in the Corps
Super Squad competitions are sweeping through the fleet

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook