Chuck Hagel orders review of new medal for drone operators and cyber warriors

Last month, the Defense Department’s press secretary told critics that the new Distinguished Warfare Medal, intended for drone pilots and other “cyber warriors,” would retain its rank above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. In a reversal today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a 30-day review of the situation. “In light of concerns about the medal’s place within the order of precedence, the secretary will work with the senior leadership to review the order of precedence and associated matters,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters.

The idea that a medal earned away from the battlefield would outrank combat medals such as the Bronze Star inspired a backlash from veterans as well as legislative efforts.

The review doesn’t guarantee a re-ranking of medals, but it does demonstrate the intensity of the backlash.

  • TugboatPhil

    In the spirit of cynicism, he ordered a review? Hey, Chuck. You’re SecDef now. Get off the phone with the Mullahs and downgrade the award’s ranking!

    • Calcat36

      He’s working with the Mullahs to come up with an anti-Israel award…

  • Maxx

    If at the end of your shift, you can grill a cheeseburger on your backdoor patio, whatever award earned that day should not outrank a Bronze Star awarded to the MRE-eating soldier fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan.

    –USN (Ret).

  • Spatial Awareness

    NOT holding my breath.

  • Steve_J

    That there is a special medal for operating a drone is ridiculous in the first place.

  • Calcat36

    Guess who gets the first medal, making him yet again, historic. That’s right, the man that the defense department had to go around in order to kill bin-laden. Since he “finally” ordered the strike, he gets the first medal as CIC, thus on “Active Duty” in a military capacity, just like Slick Willey claimed to try to stop his prosecution for lying under oath!

    Above a bronze star for playing a video game? And does that extend to drones being used on American soil?

  • Stupid Republic

    I’m not holding my breath. Knowing this Administration, the medal for whacking a conservative with a drone on American soil will rank betwixt the Medal of Honor and the Air Force Cross.

  • Tim jones

    A campaign ribbon for drone warfare is appropriate, at most.

  • Smart Grunt

    Drone pilots should get the appropriate end of tour award, not a special medal for what they do. They aren’t in any danger, and if their craft crashes, some grunt will have to go recover it and be given a page 11 for losing a screw on transport.

    • catb55

      Having been the daughter of a private pilot (and his unofficial co-pilot) ..and an IT trained professional I have no doubt given a couple of days training I could be flying one of these .. no problem .. now a real fighter jet .. NOT SO MUCH!