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Bridget Johnson

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April 15, 2013 - 4:33 pm

After pushback from Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has decided to roll back plans for the dronefare medal.

On Feb. 13, the Pentagon established of the Distinguished Warfare Medal to recognize the achievements of “a small number of service men and women who have an especially direct and immediate impact on combat operations through the use of remotely piloted aircraft and cyber operations.”

Lawmakers were concerned about the proposed precedence of the new medal over combat medals including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Production on the DWM was stopped after Hagel agreed to review the medal.

“While the review confirmed the need to ensure such recognition, it found that misconceptions regarding the precedence of the award were distracting from its original purpose,” Hagel said in a statement today.

“The Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the concurrence of the service secretaries, have recommended the creation of a new distinguishing device that can be affixed to existing medals to recognize the extraordinary actions of this small number of men and women,” he continued. “I agree with the Joint Chiefs’ findings, and have directed the creation of a distinguishing device instead of a separate medal.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Hagel’s statement confirmed why he voted for his confirmation: “Simply put, he does the right thing.”

“Secretary Hagel’s commonsense approach to reviewing this important issue proves to our combat veterans that their sacrifices are valued,” Manchin gushed. “I truly am grateful for his leadership and for his willingness to listen to all who care so deeply about this issue.”

House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel Chairman Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) said he was “very pleased” with Hagel’s decision.

“Service members who operate remotely piloted aircraft or participate in cyber operations do deserve our praise; however, awarding them with a medal that takes precedence over a decoration earned in combat is a disservice to those who have put themselves in harms way to protect and defend our freedoms,” Wilson said. ”This change is welcomed by millions of concerned veterans and I am proud that the Secretary sided with the best interests of our brave men and women in the Armed Services who have served in combat.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
The first time one of these drone jockeys has to eject out of his/her computer seat and E&Es to the break room, I'll consider their "wartime" experience worthy of a medal that is above the PH and BSM in precedence. If it weren't so damn despicable that the military is run by a bunch of morons who viscerally hate the military and the honor the servicemembers represent, it would actually be funny how stupid their actions are.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (5)
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The first time one of these drone jockeys has to eject out of his/her computer seat and E&Es to the break room, I'll consider their "wartime" experience worthy of a medal that is above the PH and BSM in precedence. If it weren't so damn despicable that the military is run by a bunch of morons who viscerally hate the military and the honor the servicemembers represent, it would actually be funny how stupid their actions are.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So...the IMAX of war doesn't trump the theater of war quite yet?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"“While the review confirmed the need to ensure such recognition, it found that misconceptions regarding the precedence of the award were distracting from its original purpose,” Hagel said in a statement today.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Hagel’s statement confirmed why he voted for his confirmation: “Simply put, he does the right thing.”

“Secretary Hagel’s commonsense approach to reviewing this important issue proves to our combat veterans that their sacrifices are valued,” Manchin gushed. “I truly am grateful for his leadership and for his willingness to listen to all who care so deeply about this issue.”"

Bullcrap, this gutless wonder beard was pressured into it and he couldn't stand the heat. Good decision, made in bad faith. Should never have been considered above combat awards. There was no misconception about the precedence of the award....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I was once told that the mandatory opening statement in the Bronze Star narrative was "While engaged in ground combat with the enemy..." This may have changed, but that sounds like a combat medal to me.

I like the idea of a medal for drone/cyber warfare; I just think the order of precedence was wrong. Put it between the Air Medal and Aerial Achievement Medal, and it's just fine, in my opinion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Greetings:

The Bronze Star isn't necessarily a "combat" medal. It can be awarded for "merit" or, with the attachment of a "V" device, for valor.

Someone please tell me that the "distinguishing device" mentioned will look like a computer monitor screen.
1 year ago
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