Pentagon halts production of drone, cyberwarfare medal amid backlash

by  |  published on March 13, 2013

drone metal

The military has halted production of its new medal for drone- and cyber-warfare, ordering a review in response to complaints about what some have derisively dubbed the “Nintendo” medal.

A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has asked Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey to lead a review and report back in 30 days in light of the controversy.

At issue is the newly created Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was to be awarded to troops who operate drones and use other technological skills to fight America’s wars from afar — most controversial was the fact that it has been ranked above medals for those who served on the front line in harm’s way, such as the Purple Heart given to wounded troops.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who has introduced a bill to lower the medal’s ranking, said the award is “widely viewed as an award that undermines all other valor awards and the reverence for servicemembers who face the dangers of direct combat.”

“It’s a fact that those who are off the battlefield do not experience the same risks. Pretending they do devalues the courageous and selfless actions of others, who, during combat, do the unthinkable or show a willingness to sacrifice their own lives,” he said in a statement.

If the review agrees with that complaint about the medal, it would likely have to be renamed and new medals manufactured, a government official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

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