Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Monday that the production of a new military medal will be cancelled after the Defense Department received some backlash against the controversial award.
The Distinguished Warfare Medal, created by the previous defense secretary, Leon Panetta, was going to serve as an award for military personnel involved with drone attacks and cyber warfare. The controversy, however, was that some veterans and lawmakers believed the medal was ranked higher than the Bronze Star or Purple Heart, which are awarded to those involved in direct combat.
Hagel announced on Monday that they will be developing a special pin or object instead of a medal to reward those for extraordinary contributions to drone warfare.
“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,” said Hagel, who has received two purple hearts.
The new award will attach to other medals or ribbons instead of standing on its own. Hagel requested Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to report back in 30 days about plans for the new award.
Panetta’s intention in the creation of the award was to recognize a small number of men and women who have contributed significantly to the development and use of unmanned devices such as drones, which has drastically changed modern warfare.
Hagel, however, agrees that awards such as the Purple Heart, which is awarded to those injured in battle, should rank higher than those awards given to recipients not involved in direct warfare.
“The right decision was made,” the Veterans of Foreign Wars group said Monday. “This decision will clearly keep medals that can only be earned in combat in their high order of precedence, while providing proper recognition to all who support our war-fighters regardless of their distance from the fight.”