The Defense Department on Wednesday announced a new medal for troops who have contributed in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal was ordered by President Obama on the recommendation of Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Carter said Wednesday. Airmen, soldiers, sailors, and marines who have served since Operation Inherent Resolve kicked off on June 15, 2014, will be eligible for the medal and distinction, Carter said. “As we continue to accelerate our counter-ISIL campaign, we will continue to depend upon the men and women of CENTCOM,” Carter said at the US Central Command change of command ceremony at MacDill AFB, Fla. “It is you who provide us the flexibility to respond to any threat across a critical region. It is you who provide our partners the fortitude to reclaim their lands, their lives, and their future.” The award will be given in lieu of the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, according to Obama’s executive order establishing the medal. (DOD release.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.