The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee said a new medal to recognize the role of drone operators and cyber warriors shouldn’t rank higher than traditional awards honoring heroism and combat wounds.
Senators Carl Levin of Michigan, the panel’s Democratic chairman, and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican, called on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to reconsider the standing given to the new Distinguished Warfare Medal.
“Although we are supportive of this new medal, we are concerned that it is given precedence above awards earned by service members for actions on the battlefield, such as the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart,” Levin and Inhofe said in a letter to Hagel.
The Pentagon created the medal last month to recognize troops with special training and capabilities that “directly and precisely impact military operations at times far from the battlefield,” according to a Defense Department statement. Leon Panetta, Hagel’s predecessor as Pentagon chief, announced the award.