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A physical award for cyberwarriors

distinguished warfare medal

An artist's rendering of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal which encompasses cyber warfare, among other pursuits. (DOD image)

Here's one more sign the Pentagon is serious about cybersecurity: There's now a medal for it.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Feb. 13 announced the creation of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, for "extraordinary achievement, not involving acts of valor, directly impacting combat operations or other military operations." Cyberwarfare personnel and drone pilots are among those who would be eligible for the new award.

"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. And the work that they do ... does contribute to the success of combat operations, particularly when they remove the enemy from the field of battle, even if those actions are physically removed from the fight."

The new award has drawn criticism, however, because it was placed higher in the hierarchy of military honors than the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Nick McDowell, a member of the Orders and Medals Society of America, told USA Today, "the ultimate consequence is that it will diminish the prestige of the valor decorations. Nobody wants that, but that is basically what happens."

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Feb 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM

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