In my March 2, 2013, Military Matters update, I said that I was at a loss over DOD’s ranking the new Distinguished Warfare Medal for cyber drone warriors above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Well, it seems that I and the VFW aren’t the only ones. Several U.S. Senators and Congressmen have asked the military brass to reconsider:
An Outside the Beltway piece reports that Congress “is banding together” (on a bipartisan basis!) to urge the downgrading in the medal’s precedence. Although the author James Joyner’s reporting is somewhat sarcastic – he refers to the issue as “the greatest problem facing the country” – the article states the case for downgrading the medal:
“It’s not looking good for the new Golden X-box Controller award for drone pilots,” says Joyner, proving that he can be snarky on both sides of an issue. It seems that almost 50 members of Congress have joined the chorus.
One California Democrat, Rep. Susan Davis, put the argument succinctly: “We lessen the direct-combat recognitions of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star by giving the DWM higher precedence.”
The Pentagon’s head flack, George Little, seems to be sticking with the original argument for ranking the Distinguished Warfare Medal ahead of those you have to get shot at or wounded to receive. He continues to insist that getting the medal requires the personal approval of the Service Secretary and “means the drone warfare award won’t be handed out lightly.”
According to a piece by Leada Gore on the Alabama website, a trio of Republican Congressmen are pushing a bill requiring the DOD to rank the new medal below combat-related decorations. All three congressmen are military veterans. Says one, “There is no greater sacrifice than risking your own life to save another on the battlefield, and the order of precedence should appropriately reflect the reverence we hold for those willing to make that sacrifice.”
The new bill will most likely be attached to be included in the upcoming defense authorization bill or could be independently passed. In any case, unless newly appointed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel steps in and fixes this mess, it appears as if it will take a new law to get the Pentagon to do the right thing. In the meantime, they are solidly “stuck on stupid.”
I’ll keep you posted on this one!
At *your* service,