orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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March 12, 2013

New cyber medal production stopped, being reviewed

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

In ordering a new look at the medal, Hagel said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey would lead a review of how the medal is ranked among others — where it is in what the military calls "the order of precedence" of the medal, Little said.

Hagel is going to work with Dempsey, the service secretaries and the service chiefs to review the ranking. He wants Dempsey to report back in 30 days.

In addition to vet concerns, there is a practical side to the rankings for currently serving troops. There are grades of medals — commendation, merit, distinguished — that affect not only the name but promotions for those still in uniform. Each grade gives troops a certain number of points needed for promotions.

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the new medal last month, saying it was meant to recognize battlefield contributions in a world of changing warfare.

"I've seen firsthand how modern tools, like remotely piloted platforms and cyber systems, have changed the way wars are fought," Panetta said. "And they've given our men and women the ability to engage the enemy and change the course of battle, even from afar."

Over the last decade of war, remotely piloted Predator and Reaper drones have become a critical weapon to gather intelligence and conduct airstrikes against terrorists or insurgents around the world. They have been used extensively on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and northern Africa.

Over the same time, cyberattacks have become a growing national security threat, with Panetta and others warning that the next Pearl Harbor could well be a computer-based assault.

Officials said in announcing the medal last month that it would be the first combat-related award to be created since the Bronze Star in 1944. And, they said that in recognition of the evolving 21st century warfare, the medal would be considered a bit higher in ranking than the Bronze Star, but lower than the Silver Star.

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