The Washington Times - February 13, 2013, 03:17PM

Drone pilots, heads up.

A new award becomes available, Defense Dept. officials say, in a few months. That would be the Distinguished Warfare Medal, meant to provide DOD-wide recognition for “extraordinary achievement, not involving acts of valor in combat, directly impacting combat operations of other military operations,” according to a memo from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday.

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The new “DWM” ranks below the Distinguished Flying Cross, but above the Bronze Star. The brass pendant features a laurel wreath encircling a domed and grid-lined globe. There is no geographic limitation on the award, and the domain for the award includes air, land, maritime, space and cyberspace. It cannot be given for action prior to Sept. 22, 2001.

“I have seen first-hand how modern tools like remotely piloted platforms and cyber systems have changed the way wars can be fought. 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,” observes Mr. Panetta.

“This new medal recognizes the changing character of warfare and those who make extraordinary contributions to it,” says Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. “The criteria for this award will be highly selective and reflect high standards.”