Are Medal Awards Consistent?

That was a key question Wednesday at a House Armed Services subcommittee meeting, in which DOD and service officials explained—and defended—the medal awards process. Personnel Subcommittee chairman John McHugh (R-N.Y.) was most concerned about the dearth of Medal of Honor awards, saying that he “is concerned that the military services recently may have introduced more stringent criteria into the Medal of Honor awards process than has existed in the past.” McHugh also expressed concern that awards may not be presented in a “timely and efficient manner” or are “consistently applying the criteria” for various awards. McHugh said: “I would just note, statistically, for the record, when we talk about the Bronze Star in OIF and OEF, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army’s issued over 52,000 Bronze Stars, while the Marine Corps has issued 1,466, the Navy 1,080, and the Air Force 3,849.” He acknowledged that “numbers can be deceptive,” but he added, certainly on their face, they would suggest that there’s a question of consistency across the services. USAF personnel chief, Lt. Gen. Roger Brady, noted that historically the airmen primarily at risk have been aircrews, but that is not the case in the war on terror, where the Air Force has more than 5,000 airmen on the ground standing in for soldiers.