House Approves Barrar Effort to Urge Feds to Reconsider Rank of New Medal
3/22/2013

HARRISBURG – In an effort to preserve the integrity of medals bestowed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and awarded to military personnel for meritorious service in combat, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously approved a measure by Rep. Stephen E. Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware), majority chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, urging the DOD to reconsider the order of precedence or ranking of the newly created medal for cyber warfare and drone operations.

“Cyber warfare is an important part of 21st century warfare, and military personnel who demonstrate achievement in this field and in combat drone operations should be acknowledged for their outstanding efforts,” Barrar said. “However, we must make sure that this new medal, known as the Distinguished Warfare Medal, is ranked appropriately among other military medals and decorations.”

Last month, the U.S. Department of Defense unveiled the Distinguished Warfare Medal, which recognizes military achievement in cyber warfare or combat drone operations for engagements that do not include actions of valor in live combat. In fact, the proposed drone medal would be ranked above the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and other medals awarded to those who have participated in active combat.

“No doubt, the recipients of this proposed medal are great contributors to our national security; however, they are not personally being exposed to traditional combat that puts their lives at risk,” said Barrar, a U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War.

House Resolution 172 specifically encourages the Department of Defense to reconsider the order of precedence of this new medal below the honors for those who risk their lives for the good of the nation. The new medal is the first combat-related award to be created since the Bronze Star in 1944.

In addition to Barrar’s resolution, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Military Order of the Purple Heart also are urging the department to reconsider.

The decision of the new medal’s ranking has also led to a considerable and growing backlash, and as a result, the Pentagon has announced that production of the new medal for remote warfare troops has been stopped while the agency considers complaints from veterans and lawmakers, including U.S. congressman and senators from across the country over the ranking of the new medal. In the meantime, the secretary of Defense has ordered the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review how the medal is ranked among the others and report back to the secretary in 30 days.

The resolution will be sent to the president of the United States, the secretary of Defense, to the presiding officers of each House of Congress and to each member of Congress from Pennsylvania.

Representative Stephen E. Barrar
160th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Nicole Wamsley
717.783.8063
nwamsley@pahousegop.com
SteveBarrar.com / Facebook.com/RepBarrar
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