Archive for March 27, 2013

SHAKO-Drone/Cyber Security Medal Revisited

Medal Muddle

Distinguished Warfare Medal

Distinguished Warfare Medal

Last month we told you that then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had approved a new medal to cite the contributions of troops working behind the lines – like drone pilots and cyber warfare operators – to combat operations.

Now current Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, has asked the military’s top uniformed leader, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to head a review of the award..

The new Distinguished Warfare Medal (DWM) was intended to recognize members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps “whose extraordinary achievements, regardless of their distance to the traditional combat theater, deserve distinct department-wide recognition.”

In short, the award was to be given to uniformed personnel to recognize actions with direct effects on combat.

But in the hierarchy of military awards, the DWM was slated to rank just below the Distinguished Flying Cross and above the Bronze Star medal. But that decision sparked protests from veterans’ groups like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, who said the new medal’s status diminishes older military decorations like the Purple Heart which is awarded to those wounded in battle – including Hagel, who served as a combat infantryman in Vietnam.

“He’s heard the concerns of others, and he believes that it’s prudent to take into account those concerns and conduct this review,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said earlier in March.

Hagel asked Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs, to conduct the review and report back in 30 days. Meanwhile, Little said production of the medal has stopped and no one has been nominated for the award.

Several members of Congress, including the chairman and top Republican of the Senate Armed Services Committee have written Hagel expressing concern about the new medal’s precedence.



SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

March 27, 2013 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment


March 2013


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