Earlier this year, the Pentagon created the Distinguished Warfare Medal to recognize the achievements of drone pilots and other soldiers who specialized in high-tech warfare. The decision was met with substantial backlash from the military community, which felt it cheapened the honors received by troops who served in the line of fire. On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the medal would be replaced, according to Military Times.
The biggest issue surrounding the Distinguished Warfare Medal was the fact that it outranked other honors that were earned on the battlefield, such as the Bronze Star. The new policy will reclassify the Distinguished Warfare Medal as something that can be added onto another decoration that has already been earned. Hagel's move comes after a lengthy review where he determined that while drone pilots and other soldiers deserve recognition, the process needed to be modified.
"Utilizing a distinguishing device to recognize impacts on combat operations reserves our existing combat medals for those service members who incur the physical risk and hardship of combat, perform valorous acts, are wounded in combat, or as a result of combat give their last full measure for our nation," Hagel said in a one-page memo.
While there are no definitive criteria just yet for the newly created distinction, Hagel says that it will emerge within the next 90 days.