The Department of Defense is temporarily stopping production of the Distinguished Warfare Medal while it reviews complaints, the Associated Press reports. According to an unnamed government official, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of the medal, which was announced last month. Unlike other medals of its type, the Distinguished Warfare Medal would be awarded for exceptional accomplishments that do not involve "acts of valor" or bodily risk; it's meant to reward achievement in things like cyberwarfare or drone warfare.
"Placing the Distinguished Warfare Medal above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart diminishes the significance of awards earned by risking one’s life."
But the medal's high placement in the order of precedence — it's above the Bronze Star — and the fact that it doesn't involve a threat of harm to the recipient has led people to protest it. 22 senators have asked Hagel to reconsider the medal, saying that "Placing the Distinguished Warfare Medal above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart diminishes the significance of awards earned by risking one’s life in direct combat or through acts of heroism." Bills in the House and Senate would lower the ranking of the medal, removing much of its significance as a way to award high honors for non-traditional combat, which do not involve combat risk but can carry equivalent long-term stress.
According to the AP, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey will consider whether these complaints over precedence have merit; if they do, the medal would likely need to be renamed and redesigned. While we haven't been able to obtain confirmation, an official statement on the matter is apparently set for later today, with a report due in 30 days.