DoD’s Valor Award Review Could Take Nearly 2 Years

Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist James Pinsky

The Pentagon’s valor award review, which was first suggested by former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, may take nearly two years to complete.

The 2014 order, which came from an examination of the way the military acknowledges heroism in post-9/11 combat, was originally intended to reflect changes in fighting, including the use of drones.

Results of the review were signed Jan. 7 by current Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

The military plans to review more than 1,100 commendations for heroism in Iraq and Afghanistan for upgrade to Medal of Honor.

Related: The DoD will review 1,100 Post-9/11 valor awards for possible upgrades to MOH.

In addition, the Pentagon plans to change the way it recognizes service in a combat zone by altering the criteria for awarding the Bronze Star, and adding a new “C” device that can be fixed to other traditionally noncombat awards.

According to Military Times, under the new rules, all "V" devices will be recognition for a specific act of valor in a specific situation, while the "C" will mark that other awards were received for high performance over time in a combat environment.

Peter Cook, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters on Jan. 7 that he did not know how many awards would be affected by the review. However, he added that the “sheer number” of commendations indicates the potential for some to be changed. The reviews by secretaries of each service branch are due Sept. 30, 2017, USA Today wrote.

In a memo, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus voiced his opinion that this review was unnecessary.

He wrote, “Abandonment of our long held standards for reconsideration of award decisions would also undermine the finality of decisions by commanders and senior leaders, and clear the way for an endless cycle of appeals of any award decision.”

According to Matthew Allen, a Department of Defense spokesman, the review of Service Cross and Silver Star nominations for post-9/11 will not change the award criteria for those medals, or the Medal of Honor.

“All awards going forward will continue to be evaluated against the same time-tested statutory award criteria, which was also used to evaluate pre-9/11 awards,” wrote Allen, in an email to Task & Purpose. “This review in no way diminishes the prestige or legacy of the valor medals awarded to pre-9/11 veterans.”

Allen also noted that there will be no difference between “pre and post 9/11 Medal of Honor recipients, as all must have met the same statutory Medal of Honor award criteria.”

James Clark contributed to this reporting. 

UPDATE: Additional information from Matthew Allen was added to this article after publication. (1/8/16; 4:27)

Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.

Read More Show Less
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."

Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read More Show Less

Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."

"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."

First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.

"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."

Read More Show Less

D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.

"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."

Read More Show Less