Distinguished Warfare Medal Ranking to Stand

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that the new Distinguished Warfare Medal is appropriately ranked despite the protests from lawmakers and some veterans’ groups, according to the senator. “This is a disappointment,” said Toomey in a March 11 release. “While I fully support appropriate recognition of all military personnel whose extraordinary actions make a difference in combat operations, I am concerned about this decision and the new medal’s ranking in DOD’s order of precedence,” he added. The controversy stems from the fact that the DWM ranks higher than the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Toomey is not alone in his concern. A bipartisan group of more than 20 senators sent a letter to Hagel on March 8 “urging him to preserve the precedence of combat decorations over a new medal honoring drone pilots and cyber warriors.” On the House side, a group led by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) has introduced legislation that would prohibit the Pentagon from ranking the DWM equal to, or higher than the Purple heart.