By Jake Tapper, CNN
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has decided to review the criteria of a recently created Drone Award. The award would rank achievements in drone warfare above the most noted recognition for bravery on the battlefield.
The question is what an extraordinary act of service looks like. There have been heroics on the battlefield since the beginning of time, but can a soldier show valor while waging war via remote control?
"People losing their lives on the battlefield, that's where the attention should go in my perhaps narrow view, but I think most veterans do agree with me," said Sen. James Inhofe (R) Oklahoma.
The medal is so new it hasn't actually been awarded to anyone yet, but the outrage came over the fact that it would outrank those medals given to vets who faced bodily harm.
"They're good people and they are doing a good job but they're doing it from a remote area where the level of danger is not in the same realm as certainly it would be with a Bronze Star or a Purple Heart," said Inhofe.
The distinguished warfare medal was created by recently retired Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who said it was high time to honor soldiers fighting on a new kind of front.
"The work that they do, the contribution that they make, does contribute to the success of combat operations," said Panetta.
But the move was roundly criticized and even mocked in a sketch from Comedy Central's "The Kroll Show."
All of this left newly minted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel backed into a corner.
Hagel, himself a two-time winner of the Purple Heart, wrote to Congress last week, saying he supported the medal.
The medal "reflects the evolving nature of our warfare" he wrote, while "it in no way degrades or minimizes" other acts of valor.
But on Tuesday Hagel was singing a different tune, and sent his spokesman to explain.
"The fact of the matter is that production of the medal has stopped. No one has been nominated for this medal. No one is in training for this medal. So we do have time to make a final decision," said George Little, Pentagon Press Secretary.