Posted : Wednesday Jun 17, 2009 17:39:46 EDT
A California congressman who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan convinced the House Armed Services Committee to order a full review of the criteria used for giving awards for gallantry and valor after a senior defense official said technological advancements and new combat tactics might be the reason fewer of the highest medals are being issued. At the urging of Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-Calif., a Marine combat veteran elected to Congress in November, the armed services committee has asked for a review of trends in awarding the Medal of Honor to determine if the low number of awards in the current wars is the result of “inadvertent subjective bias amongst commanders.” The committee also wants the Defense Department to survey officers and noncommissioned officers in leadership positions to look at attitudes about acts of valor. Hunter is looking for the reasons behind not just fewer nominations, but also a trend since the Vietnam War in which the only Medal of Honor awards have been for people who died during an act of valor. He hopes the review and study, approved by voice vote during debate on the 2010 defense authorization bill, lead to an overhaul of defense and service guidance.