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The Pentagon sparked an uproar among troops and veterans when it revealed that a new high-level medal honoring drone pilots will rank above some traditional combat valor medals in the military’s “order of precedence.”

The Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to pilots of unmanned aircraft, offensive cyberwar experts or others who are directly involved in combat operations, but who are not physically in theater and facing the physical risks that warfare historically entails.

The new medal will rank just below the Distinguished Flying Cross. It will have precedence over — and be worn on a uniform ahead of — the Bronze Star with Valor device, awarded to troops for specific heroic acts performed under fire in combat.

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