Hagel Eliminates So-Called ‘Drone Medal’
Monday, April 15, 2013
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced today he's cancelled plans for the creation of the controversial Distinguished Warfare Medal. It's been called everything from the drone medal to the Nintendo medal by detractors.
The medal was originally conceived to be awarded only to those men and women who, while serving off the battlefield, have an extraordinary impact on combat operations. 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.
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. I agree with the Joint Chiefs’ findings, and have directed the creation of a distinguishing device instead of a separate medal.
Veterans groups have been up in arms over the medal, which was to rank above the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, even though no participation in combat was required to earn it.
As Home Post previously reported, Hagel ordered a review of the medal in March.
"We believe that medals earned in combat, or in dangerous conditions, should maintain their precedence above non-combat awards. Placing the Distinguished Warfare Medal above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart diminishes the significance of awards earned by risking one’s life in direct combat or through acts of heroism."