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U.S. Department of Defense
Press Operations
News Release

Release No. NR-005-16 January 07, 2016

Defense Department Announces Service Cross and Silver Star Review

Today, the secretary of defense directed the military departments to review Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, and Silver Star Medal recommendations from the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to ensure service members awarded these medals were appropriately recognized for their valorous actions.

The preeminent goal of the department's Military Decorations and Awards program is to appropriately recognize our service members for their combat heroism. Although there is no indication that members were inappropriately recognized, the secretary determined that unusual Medal of Honor awards trends reported by the recent Military Decorations and Awards Review justified a review. The first seven Medal of Honor awards for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan were posthumous; however, after the department clarified the 'risk of life' portion of the Medal of Honor award criteria in 2010 all ten recipients have been living. Additionally, trends showed an increased willingness of commanders to upgrade recommendations submitted from subordinate commands as the wars progressed. Accordingly, the secretary directed the review as a cautionary measure on behalf of the service members who have performed heroically in combat.

The reviews will be separately led by each of the military department secretaries; the results of the reviews are due to the secretary of defense on Sept. 30, 2017.

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