Saturday, June 1, 2013

Distinguished Drone Warfare Nicknamed the “Nintendo medal,”

Distinguished Drone Warfare:

Nicknamed the “Nintendo medal,” this decoration would go to
troops who fight America’s wars from behind computer consoles. The
February debut of the Distinguished Warfare Medal saw former
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praising drone operators for their
contributions and noting that “modern tools, like remotely piloted
platforms and cyber systems, have changed the way wars are fought.
And they’ve given our men and women the ability to engage the enemy
and change the course of battle, even from afar.”
But on March 12, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel temporarily
halted production of the medal, after public outcry. The new bauble
would outrank both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, prompting
protests from veterans groups, a petition to the White House, and a
bill to lower the medal’s ranking, sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter
(R-Calif.).
The eagerness to award medals to drone operators and other
cyberwarriors—which would also speed their promotions through the
ranks—illustrates the direction the U.S. military hopes it is
heading: more drones, fewer grunts.