SHAKO: Pentagon Cancels Planned Drone Pilot/Cyber Warfare Medal

April 17, 2013 at 11:57 pm Leave a comment

Dust in the Wind

The short, stormy life of the Distinguished Warfare Medal is over.

488px-Shako-p1000580Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced this week that the new medal, which sparked controversy among veterans’ groups and members of Congress, will be replaced before it was ever issued.

In a statement, Hagel said the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force all agreed to create a new “distinguishing device,” honoring unmanned aircraft operators and warriors in cyberspace,  that can be affixed to existing medals.  Hagel ordered Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to conduct a review of the proposed medal shortly after taking over the Pentagon last month.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal was created by the Defense Department, at the behest of then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in February to recognize the achievements of drone and cyber operations that had a direct and immediate effect on combat operations.

But veterans groups like the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion complained about the new medal’s placed of precedence between the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star medal — which is awarded for both heroism and distinguished service. That, critics complained, would honor service members who did not see combat above those earning the Purple Heart medal for being wounded or killed in battle.

In his statement, April 15, Hagel said he was directing the Defense Department to develop and present final award criteria and other specifics of the distinguishing device within 90 days for final approval. The distinguishing device has not been named or designed.

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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.

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Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, News Developments, SHAKO, Skills and Training, Technology, Traditions, Unmanned Aircraft, Unmanned Systems, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , .

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