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New Medal Designed To Honor Cyber Soldiers 230

Posted by samzenpus
from the achievement-unlocked dept.
bios10h writes "The Boston Globe writes that the Pentagon is creating a new medal to honor cyber soldiers. '[The] troops who launch the drone strikes and direct the cyber-attacks that can kill or disable an enemy may never set foot in the combat zone. Now their battlefield contributions may be recognized with the first new combat-related medal to be created in decades. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that the Pentagon is creating a medal that can be awarded to troops who have a direct impact on combat operations, but do it well away from any combat zone.'"
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New Medal Designed To Honor Cyber Soldiers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:08PM (#42891743)

    Does it start out bronze, silver, and then gold? And do you get a platinum one if you collect all of the other medals?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:13PM (#42891783)

      Nah, it is just one medal that has a digital meter that continually updates your gamerscore.

    • by Scoldog (875927) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:15PM (#42891799)
      When you get the platinum medal, it also unlocks new countries to fight in and new and improved drone weapons

      Not only do you have to kill a certain amount of people (civilians, enemies, womp rats, whatever), you also have to do pointless tasks like do 15 barrel rolls in a row with a drone to earn certain medals.

      Anyone else?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Too bad it's just another Free-to-Play turned Pay-to-Win. If you want to have any chance at making the leaderboards you need to spend some money on proper kit: Faster target acquisition software, cluster munitions, engine boosters. This is not good for competitive gameplay and several influential clans are considering dropping out.

        To combat this trend, the US Army stated on their official blog that they are considering opening a marketplace with vanity items instead, like custom paint jobs and "death-tunes"

      • Re:Let me guess (Score:4, Informative)

        by lemur3 (997863) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @01:02AM (#42892507)

        ACTUALLY..

        the drones like the predator rely on satellites for control.. .. this actually means that if the pilot turns too sharply (which the drone allows him to do) he can lose contact with the satellite and.. therefore, control..

        doing a barrel roll is very unlikely!!

        i imagine 'losing control' of the drone because you turned its little satellite dish away from the sat probably wont get you a medal... well, perhaps some Iranian guy may get one!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2013 @01:29AM (#42892627)

          ACTUALLY..

          the drones like the predator rely on satellites for control.. .. this actually means that if the pilot turns too sharply (which the drone allows him to do) he can lose contact with the satellite and.. therefore, control..

          doing a barrel roll is very unlikely!!

          That's why it's worth more points.

          10 pts Performed a barrel roll
          15 pts Completed a training mission
          25 pts Completed a combat mission with an all female (or male) squad
          50 pts Killed 20 enemy commanders in 20 minutes
          100 pts Completed campaign in hard mode
          200 pts Killed an enemy at the same time as chatting with them in an online chat room

        • Re:Let me guess (Score:4, Informative)

          by backslashdot (95548) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @07:18AM (#42894067)

          Uh, the drones have built in autonomy to handle losses of communication. We'd be losing mad drones if that wasnt the case.

    • instead of oak leaf clusters, subsequent awards are denoted by a small metalic "lulz" device, with the same order of awarding
    • by Spacejock (727523)
      My guess is crossed joysticks over a Wifi symbol
    • I'd personally nominate the Purple Wrist medal for service personnel who got Carpal Wrist Syndrome in the course of duty.
    • Drop them in the forge...but there is a semi-random chance it will fail and you will have to collect the lower medals again.

  • Err ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:12PM (#42891769)

    Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?

    I'm sure these drone pilots are doing a good job and all but I wonder how their life could possibly be on the line in a nice cushy bunker somewhere.

    I suspect this medal may well end up being called a Clayton's medal, the medal you get when you're not getting a medal.

    Captcha: evasion: something drone pilots don't have to worry about too much :-)

    • Say what you will, but I think the recipients will consider it an Achievement.

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        Say what you will, but I think the recipients will consider it an Achievement.

        Of course they will. Whether it actually is or not is debatable.

    • Re:Err ... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:17PM (#42891827)

      "Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?"

      No. The point of medals is recognition for service. The military awards plenty of medals that have nothing to do with combat.

      • by jythie (914043)
        The strange thing is, that this is a combat metal, the first one that does not require being in any actual danger. I doubt people would be snickering so much if it was simply a metal for achievement like other ones.
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        "Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?"

        No. The point of medals is recognition for service. The military awards plenty of medals that have nothing to do with combat.

        Are they like Girl Guide badges, you mean?

    • Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?

      Not anymore.

      Now the entire military infrastructure, from cleaning the latrines to killing suspicious civilians, can be gamified.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Yes "nice cushy bunker somewhere." with a female contractor standing behind them :)
      http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/29/world/la-fg-drones-civilians-20111230 [latimes.com]
    • I thought the Purple Heart was a cop out (who gives a medal for being shot?), but a medal for putting in absolutely zero risk takes the cake. The purpose of medals is to inspire courage, bravery and loyalty, this is just devaluing the system. They may as well call it a participation medal.
      • by balsy2001 (941953)
        You could tell that to the Marine Sniper I know that was blown up by a grenade in Fallujah. He might take exception to you saying all he did was stand around and get blown up (he was providing cover fire for his unit when he got blown up). I don't think the purple heart devalues the medals system and there is probably a better example of what you are getting at (sure there are some folks that got it for standing on base and being shot but nothing is perfect). For example, my Global War on Terrorism Meda
      • by tibman (623933)

        If that were the case then Generals wouldn't be so stacked. There are a ton of peacetime and service medals.

      • Medals needing no combat or even real sacrifice:
        Good Conduct Medal - Don't get article 15'd for 3 years? You're awarded it. - You can look it up.
        Achievement medal - Do something great, or a series of good tasks. Normally for the lower enlisted/officer grades
        Accommodation medal - Supposed to be for even greater things than the achievement, in practice is simply more for senior NCOs and midrank officers.

        The purple heart at least acknowledges your sacrifice; you managed to make it into a combat zone and cl

    • by nick_davison (217681) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:04AM (#42892127)

      Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?

      That, sir, is un-American thinking. Those brave young men and women put their carpal tunnels on the line for you every day and they haven't even been granted a Purple Mouse in recognition.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?

      Don't you know anything? Video games need achievements now. But an achievement like "blew up children with drone" only pays out 10 gamerscore, it takes "personally shot up people trying to defend their country" to get the big numbers.

    • Re:Err ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by caffiend666 (598633) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:17AM (#42892203) Homepage

      Not all awards are for risking ones life. Some, like the Army service ribbon are given simply for completing training. Some medals are given for achievements not necessarily related to heroism, like the Army Commendation Medal. Technically speaking, people are risking their lives to complete basic training, though.

      Although there are no significant physical risks in fighting remotely, these service members are still going through significant stress and risking PTSD in their jobs. Yes, 'it's like playing a video game'. But there are real lives on the line, there is no pause button, and possibly endless days doing a single task. Doesn't matter if it's just pushing buttons in an airconditioned room, they lose sleep and their sanity just the same. Not to mention watching films of people dying, the ones they just killed.

      I've read of facebook image filterers suffering from PTSD and depression. Now, imagine if those image filterers had to decide not just whether to block the image, but also whether to kill the people in the pictures.

    • Google isn't helping me: what is the significance of "Clayton's medal?" Can you show me something to read about this?
      • Re:Err ... (Score:5, Informative)

        by deimtee (762122) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @01:12AM (#42892555) Journal
        "Claytons" was a spirit style drink that didn't actually contain any alcohol. ie, you could drink "Claytons and Soda" or "Claytons on the rocks" all night and still drive home. It was targeted at designated drivers and others who couldn't drink but still wanted to socialise.
        They ran a massive ad campaign for a few years in Oz - "The drink you have when you're not having a drink" and it became a generic (mildly insulting) term that implied something wasn't real, or didn't have the content it should have.
        • Ah, along the lines of "Dutch [x]" then?
          (x being any element of a sizable array including "Wife", "Courage" and "Oven")

        • Orange Juice and Gingerale, used to call it the designated driver's special. Good bars gave it to you free for being a designated driver.
          Bad bars charged and you sometimes wondered if the orange juice was so old it had fermented!

    • Military medals were created to honer a soldier without actually spending any significant portion of the King's treasury. It's so much cheaper to hand out a trinket that costs a few dollars than it is to actually give a performance bonus to those that risked their lives.
    • When I google for Clayton's medal, your post is the #3 result.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?

      No. Many past medals were for service, length of service, or campaigns. Some were even for good driving, believe it or not. Or good conduct.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Conduct_Medal_(United_States) [wikipedia.org]

      There are many medals, not all for valor.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Yeah these are going to say "for bravery under enemy fire"...
    • by Jawnn (445279)

      Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?

      In a word, no. There are lots medals. Some are awarded for the reasons you describe. Others, a great many others, for any number of things. 30 seconds with Google would have informed you of this.

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      In Russia, practically everybody who is alive now and who worked during WWII has some kind of official honorary recognition in the form of a medal. But Soviet Russia was very big on empty honors.

      As for the subject, the highest honor for scoundrels is a shot in the head.

    • by xaoslaad (590527)

      Not just.

      They have medals for good conduct:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Conduct_Medal_(United_States) [wikipedia.org]

      Serving during time of war:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Defense_Service_Medal [wikipedia.org]

      Doing your job well inside or outside of combat:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achievement_Medal [wikipedia.org]

      Wounded or killed while serving:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_Heart [wikipedia.org]

      Serving in various Campaigns, wars, etc:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Service_Medal [wikipedia.org]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korea_Defense_Se [wikipedia.org]

    • I suspect this medal may well end up being called a Clayton's medal, the medal you get when you're not getting a medal.

      So you're saying it's basically a free token?

  • by anglico (1232406) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:42PM (#42891977)

    If you want to give out a medal for flying a drone, fine, I don't have a huge problem with it as long as you're great at it. What really irritates me and a lot of other service members is it's ranking in the 'order of precedence'. What I've read is it ranks above some combat medals, specifically the Bronze Star, which is really pissing off the 'boots on the ground' troops and I don't blame them for being mad.

    • by elucido (870205)

      If you want to give out a medal for flying a drone, fine, I don't have a huge problem with it as long as you're great at it. What really irritates me and a lot of other service members is it's ranking in the 'order of precedence'. What I've read is it ranks above some combat medals, specifically the Bronze Star, which is really pissing off the 'boots on the ground' troops and I don't blame them for being mad.

      But the nature of combat is constantly changing. Ground troops are still important but their role is going to become less important over time. In the future there will be robots used in certain roles where ground troops are used now. The drone operators and cyber warriors will eventually be the main role.

      • by anglico (1232406)

        But the nature of combat is constantly changing. Ground troops are still important but their role is going to become less important over time. In the future there will be robots used in certain roles where ground troops are used now. The drone operators and cyber warriors will eventually be the main role.

        But I doubt they're going to give the robots medals for it, it's not as if they can lose their life. As I stated, giving a medal to a drone pilot is one thing, ranking it higher than a medal given for having an actual presence in combat is a whole different issue.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        combat implies two(or more) factions duking it out.
        drone strikes don't seem to be used in combat. they're used for bombing strikes and surveillance. the surveilled or striked can't shoot back so it's just one way.

        and remote planes is a long way from ground terminators.. even if they're basically the same thing. but they're a very long way from being able to be used in actual capturing of people, actual manning of checkpoints etc jobs which are the main jobs of the soldiers. the flying drones have a bunch of

    • Maybe there should be a clear distinction (in names and designs) between service and bravery medals. Both have meaning and can be used to reward actions above and beyond the ordinary, but it would be good to not confuse the two.

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      >which is really pissing off the 'boots on the ground' troops

      May be instead of looking for shortcuts they should have considered doing something good instead of being hired murderous occupants.

  • Stress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baldrake (776287) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @11:59PM (#42892085)

    The Christian Science Monitor had an interesting piece [csmonitor.com] a while back on the stress of remotely participating in combat:

    At the end of the day, these pilots get in their cars and drive home to their families, mow the lawn and make dinner, or take their children to soccer practice.

    The result is an "existential conflict" in some UAV pilots, says Col. Hernando Ortega, surgeon for the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency. It is "a guilt feeling, perhaps – or a 'Did I make the right decision?' " he explains." 'Was this a friendly fire incident? Was it a good outcome? Was it a bad outcome? Could I have done it better?'"

    It's obviously not comparable to driving a LAV in convoy wondering when the next IED is going to detonate. But it appears to be a much tougher job than many of us would think.

    • Re:Stress (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mitreya (579078) <mitreyaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:48AM (#42892411)

      ... stress of remotely participating in combat

      The result is an "existential conflict" in some UAV pilots, says Col. Hernando Ortega, surgeon for the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency. It is "a guilt feeling, perhaps â" or a 'Did I make the right decision?'

      Mayhaps part of the problem is that some of the drone-related operations are so blatantly wrong that soldiers who are executing them must feel the inevitable guilt. Not "was it right or was it wrong?", but "why did I just kill a group of civilians on purpose?".

      For example, an attack on the funeral procession of "militants" killed earlier in the day [wikipedia.org]
      (quotes around militants are added by me, since at least nowdays that is defined as "adult males")

      • Mayhaps part of the problem is that some of the drone-related operations are so blatantly wrong that soldiers who are executing them must feel the inevitable guilt. Not "was it right or was it wrong?", but "why did I just kill a group of civilians on purpose?".

        I think that is probably true. Not that I believe that deserves a medal or anything, but I am willing to believe that for a normally adjusted human, killing someone, even by remote control, is very destructive to the pysche.

        I watched a video a of person dying [wikipedia.org] because I thought it was a very important event, that her death ought to be witnessed by as many people as possible. It was far more intense than I ever expected, even though it was no hollywood shoot-out or anything like the way death is portrayed i

      • by argStyopa (232550)

        "Not "was it right or was it wrong?", but "why did I just kill a group of civilians on purpose?"."

        When cowards insist on fighting a war and using women and children as body shields, please, enlighten us what YOUR solution is?

        "Warrior culture" my ass.

      • by mjwalshe (1680392)
        As opposed to the crews of the B52's that carpet bombed large chunks of Asia? - a targeted strike is far less likely to have collateral damage - like my dad getting bombed out during ww2 as that side of the family lived a few miles from the biggest spitfire plant in the UK - luckily he wasn't at home then other wise I would not be here :-)
    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      I for one salute the unsung sacrifices of these brave Rear Echelon Motherfuckers. They also serve who stare into the face of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
    • by mapkinase (958129)

      >But it appears to be a much tougher job than many of us would think.

      boo. hoo.

      Have you ever heard of Mujahedeen having such qualms? Have you every heard of a Taliban with a PTSD syndrome?

      Screw you and your murderous mercenary invaders. May Allah destroy them. Ameen.

  • The Pentagon has posted a really interesting video [mistermaker.com], about the process that they use to manufacture these medals.
  • Why do we have soldiers fly drones anyway? I imagine gamers would do a MUCH better job with the drones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQLIaZUOnBU [youtube.com]
    • Why do we have soldiers fly drones anyway? I imagine gamers would do a MUCH better job with the drones

      Someone can be both a soldier and a gamer.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:28AM (#42892279) Journal

    Coming soon: the Unquestioning Obedience Citation, awarded for not caring about legalities like declaring war.

    -jcr

  • I served 6 years in the Air Force - no heroics, didn't dodge any bullets, but I did my job to the best of my ability. I left with a box full of of medals and citations that promptly went into the dumpster. Why? Because they were awarded every time I sneezed into a hanky and not into someone's face, for showing up to work on time sober...things that I was duty-bound to do anyway.

    The military has joined the rest of American society in giving out awards for everything, for everyone, because we are all special.
  • by craznar (710808) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:39AM (#42892345) Homepage

    When in the field, a soldier gets stressed out - sure, however they get to use much of the innate stress mechanisms humans and animals have of fight or flight.

    When sitting behind a computer screen in an air conditioned office - much of the stress is still there however there is no mechanism for management.

    Just ask an air traffic controller if they think their job is easy - now compound that by actually having to kill people.

    Personally - I think these guys probably don't need medals, they probably need lots of counselling.

  • Everybody wins! Yaaaay!

  • Okay great, another metal for the military, but if your going to give people who kill in the name of there country a metal shouldn't you also reconize the people who kill for fun? A solder is a serial killer who gets away with it.
  • I recall reading that after the 'battle' for Greneda, more medals were handed out - including to military contractors - than were handed out for D-Day. Might have been BS, but it's always stuck with me.

    Funny how all this fascist behaviour and bravery of being out of range is starting after most all the WWII vets have died.
  • Just look at the health warning at the back of your keyboard.
  • It's the "Chair Force Medal of Honor", isn't it?
  • The only part of the DOD that will see much growth the next fews after the midesat war drawdowns.
  • will have a picture of a bench in the back.
  • Oh yes. They need a medal. Because it is so dangerous for them sitting in front of a screen thousands of miles away from the conflict. How brave.

    There are already medals commemorating exceptional work that is not necessarily dangerous. This is unnecessary.

    And yes, I am a veteran.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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