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.