US creates new medal for ‘digital warriors’

The US Department of Defense has announced a new medal the reward "extraordinary achievement" by soldiers that assist military operations remotely, such as cyber security specialists and unmanned arial vehicle (UAV) pilots.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal has been created in recognition of the contribution that soldiers operating remotely now make to military operations, the DoD said.

Unlike other medals, there is no geographical limitation on who can receive the DWM. It is designed to award "extraordinary direct impacts on combat operations … regardless of the member's physical location".

“I have seen first-hand how modern tools like remotely piloted platforms and cyber systems have changed the way wars can be fought,” said US secretary of defence Leon 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.”

The medal can be awarded for achievements in any of the five military domains: air, land, maritime, space and – notably – cyberspace.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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