WASHINGTON (AP) -- The military has stopped production of a new medal for remote warfare troops as it considers complaints from veterans and lawmakers over the award, a government official said Tuesday.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was to be awarded to troops who operate drones and use other technological skills to fight America's wars from afar. Announcement of the review is expected at a Pentagon news conference later Tuesday.
Lawmakers and veterans groups have complained that although troops can get the new medal for work far from the battlefield, it has been ranked above medals for those who served on the front line in harm's way, such as the Purple Heart given to wounded troops.
If the review agrees with complaints about the medal, it would likely have to be renamed and new medals manufactured, the government official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
In ordering the review, Hagel said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey would look at how the medal is ranked among others — where it is in what the military calls "the order of precedence" of the medal, according to talking points obtained by The Associated Press.
Hagel said he wants Dempsey to report in 30 days.