New England senators part of group questioning new medal

Lawmakers in northern New England are among a group of senators who have asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to lower the ranking of a new medal for cyberfighters. Late Tuesday morning, Hagel ordered a review of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was to be awarded to service members who operate drones and use other technological skills to fight America’s wars from afar. Among the senators expressing concern in a letter Monday were Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Senator Angus King of Maine, and Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The medal would have been ranked ahead of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. The senators said combat awards are sacred, reflecting the special bravery of Americans who have been willing to sacrifice everything in the defense of the United States.