Distinguished Warfare Medal

The Department of Defense has created a new decoration, the Distinguished Warfare Medal. The medal provides recognition for extraordinary achievements that directly impact on combat operations, but that do not involve acts of valor or physical risk that traditional forms of combat entails.

As new forms of war profilerate (remotely piloted aircraft, network-centric operations, missile defense), there is a logic to such a medal. However, the separation of combat operations from traditional physical risk and valor presents deep challenges to the traditional military culture. Another concern is the excessive amount of “fruit salad” worn by American military personnel, which tends to overwhelm the traditional awards for valor. Wouldn’t the existing Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star (without the V for Valor) be sufficient to serve the purposes of the new medal, perhaps with a new device for the purpose?

Update: Criteria for the award of the DWM.

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