New Medal’s Precedence Under Review

In a seemingly rapid about-face, the Pentagon announced Tuesday that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey will conduct a review of the US military’s newly established Distinguished Warfare Medal to re-examine its order of precedence relative to other US military awards and commendations. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “has asked that Chairman Dempsey lead this review and report back in 30 days,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters during a March 12 briefing. As a result, “production of the medal has stopped” for the time being, said Little, noting that no service member had yet been nominated for it. Hagel’s directive came just days after he told Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), in response to the senator’s inquiry, that the Pentagon had appropriately rated the DWM, which currently ranks above the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart in precedence, much to the dismay of some lawmakers and veterans’ groups. Hagel “believes that it’s prudent to take into account those concerns and conduct this review,” said Little. (Little transcript) (See also Toomey statement and Rooney statement.)