The Pentagon is still trying to sort out whether troops involved in counter terrorism missions in Iraq and Syria will be eligible to receive the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal for heroics in combating ISIS, reported Stars and Stripes. It’s not clear whether the current deployments to the Middle East classify as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, which has traditionally referred to the war in Afghanistan. It also seems the lack of a separate designation for the anti-ISIS campaign further clouds the eligibility requirements for how troops will be recognized. “The department is currently working with US Central Command regarding awards and decorations for those conducting operations in Iraq and Syria. No decisions have yet been made,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen told the newspaper.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.