The Pentagon has created a new medal to recognize the role of drone operators and cyber specialists in modern-day combat.
The Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to military personnel with special training and capabilities that “directly and precisely impact military operations at times far from the battlefield,” the Defense Department said in a statement today.
The new medal will “sit directly below the Distinguished Flying Cross” in order of precedence. That puts the awards above the Bronze Star Medal for heroism in armed combat and the Purple Heart for wounds received as a result of hostile action.
“I’ve seen firsthand how modern tools, like remotely piloted platforms and cyber systems, have changed the way wars are fought,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at a Pentagon news conference. “I’ve always felt, having seen the great work that they do, day in and day out, that those who performed in an outstanding manner should be recognized.”