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Ayotte: Pentagon Decision Preserves Highest Military Honors for Those Who Risk Their Lives in Combat

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) applauded Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement today that the Pentagon is reversing its decision to award a Distinguished Warfare Medal to cyber personnel and drone pilots. Secretary Hagel announced today that the Department will instead develop a distinguishing device to be attached to an existing medal, rather than a separate medal that is above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart in order of precedence.

"I applaud Secretary Hagel's decision and his willingness to listen to the widespread concerns of veterans across the nation," said Senator Ayotte, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Today's announcement helps ensure that our highest and most sacred military awards are reserved for those who risk their lives in combat."

In March, Senator Ayotte joined a bipartisan group of Senators in urging Secretary Hagel to reconsider the controversial decision to rank the Distinguished Warfare Medal - which is designed to recognize service members such as drone pilots and cyber warriors for achievements that do not involve direct combat - above combat decorations such as the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

In response to similar requests from Members of Congress and veterans, Secretary Hagel said he would order the military service chiefs to review the new medal and its precedence.

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