WASHINGTON — Add the U.S. Senate to the list of critics of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal.
Four senators — two Republicans, two Democrats — on Wednesday introduced legislation to drop the new medal in the military’s order of precedence, putting it below the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
In a statement, Sen. John Tester, D-Mont., acknowledged the need to recognize troops performing heroically beyond the battlefield, but “the folks who serve directly in the theater of war are at greater risk and we should fully acknowledge the risks that their service brings.”
Similar legislation was introduced in the House last week, and veterans advocates have decried the medal ever since its introduction last month.
Officials from the Veterans of Foreign Wars said they petitioned President Barack Obama during a White House meeting last week to intervene on the issue, and he promised to review the controversy.
But Pentagon officials have said the criticism thus far has not forced any changes in the creation of the medal or its placement above the Bronze Star. The award is designed to honor “extraordinary actions” of drone pilots and other off-site troops performing noteworthy deeds on far-away battlefields.