The Department of Defense announced Wednesday the creation of the Distinguished Warfare Medal to recognize a service member's extraordinary achievements directly impacting combat operations.
Modern technology enables service members with special training and capabilities to more directly and precisely impact military operations at times far from the battlefield.
The Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded in the name of the secretary of defense to service members whose extraordinary achievements, regardless of their distance to the traditional combat theater, deserve distinct department-wide recognition.
"I have seen first-hand how modern tools like remotely piloted platforms and cyber systems have changed the way wars can be fought," said Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta. "We should also have the ability to honor extraordinary actions that make a true difference in combat operations, even if those actions are physically removed from the fight."
Based on the order of precedence, the Distinguished Warfare Medal will sit directly below the Distinguished Flying Cross. It may be awarded for actions in any domain but not involving acts of valor.
"This new medal recognizes the changing character of warfare and those who make extraordinary contributions to it," said Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. "The criteria for this award will be highly selective and reflect high standards."
The medal, designed by The Institute of Heraldry, will be available in the coming months. The signed memo, criteria for the medal, along with the design, can be seen here at (www.defense.gov/news/DistinguishedWarfareMedalMemo.pdf).