The New Drone Award: The Distinguished Warfare Medal

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has announced a new award in the military world: The Distinguished Warfare Medal. The New York Times reports the medal will provide “recognition for the extraordinary achievements that directly impact on combat operations, but that do not involve acts of valor or physical risk that combat entails,” Mr. Panetta said.

So our fighting guys and gals who go to work everyday and sit in front of a computer screen piloting a aircrafts and killing people thousands of miles away won’t be excluded from recognition.

“I’ve seen firsthand how modern tools like remotely piloted platforms and cybersystems have changed the way wars are fought,” Mr. Panetta said, citing his tenure as director of the C.I.A. and his tour at the Pentagon. “And they’ve given our men and women the ability to engage the enemy and change the course of battle even from afar.”

Afar is right. I met the wife of drone operator once who described her husband’s job as like playing a video game from 8 to 5.

These medals will be worth going after. Officials at the Pentagon say the medal will rank higher than the Bronze Star but below the Silver Star. Drone operators will be firing up their keyboards.