I agree with the critics on this issue because someone who is not risking life and limb or even suffering the separation from their families should receive a medal that ranks higher than the medals that most deploying servicemembers receive:
The news that a medal has been created to honor the “extraordinary actions” of drone pilots and other servicemembers acting far from the battlefield has triggered strong reactions about medals and their value.
In one of his last official acts, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday announced the creation of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, to recognize “extraordinary achievements that directly impact on combat operations, but do not involve acts of valor or physical risks that combat entails.”
The medal will rank immediately below the Distinguished Flying Cross — and higher than the Bronze Star — in order of precedence, according to a Defense Department chart. It can be awarded for any actions after Sept. 11, 2001.
“Our military reserves its highest decorations, obviously, for those who display gallantry and valor in actions where their lives are on the line, and we will continue to do so,” Panetta said. “But we should also have the ability to honor the extraordinary actions that make a true difference in combat operations.”
Drones and cyberwarfare “have changed the way wars are fought,” Panetta said. [Stars & Stripes]
I haven’t talked to anyone opposed to the medal in general it is just how high in prestige that the Defense Department decided to make the medal that has people rolling their eyes. It just makes you wonder who does the common sense check on these things at the Pentagon? This whole controversy is completely unneeded if someone would have simply told Secretary Panetta that the award is a bit too high in prestige. It really should at most be above an Army Commendation Medal, but even that is a bit high considering most junior enlisted receive a ARCOM for a combat tour.