Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has addressed an issue that has been awaited for a very long time. His intention is to streamline the process of valor awards for our military heroes. In the past, it has been and arduous and slow process. It could take so log that sometimes it never even completed the process. It was also not uncommon for the award to be downgraded significantly. I am glad to see this get some attention that it needed.
As Written By: Andrew deGrandpre for Military Times:
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in one of his first directives while heading the Pentagon, subtly ordered military leaders to accelerate internal procedures for initiating, vetting and approving combat valor awards, Military Times has learned, a significant policy shift meant to ensure America’s war heroes are recognized with minimal delay.
Within the armed forces, there are few subjects treated with greater pride and sensitivity than personal awards and decorations. Mattis’s change, implemented military-wide in recent weeks, addresses a longstanding frustration shared by rank-and-file personnel and commanders alike who in many cases have waited years to see battlefield feats acknowledged.
A two-paragraph memo from Mattis to each of the military service secretaries makes clear the retired Marine’s intent: “The demands and sacrifices of military service on the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines under our charge are significant,” it says. “I know you share my commitment to ensuring appropriate and timely recognition of their service, particularly for acts of valor.”
A copy of that internal communication was provided to Military Times on Friday.
READ THE MEMO: Valor award timeliness
The memo is dated Feb. 28, about five weeks after Mattis was sworn in as defense secretary. It requires that all valor award nominations — up to and including those for the Medal of Honor — must be addressed within 10 days at each tier of the approval process.
The Medal of Honor, whose nominations must be endorsed by the defense secretary before being sent to the president for final approval, is the highest award for combat valor followed by the Service Crosses and the Silver Star. Those awards are approved at the Pentagon by the services’ top uniformed and civilian leaders.
With these higher-level awards, it means nominations should work their way up to a general or admiral within 30 days or so, meaning a determination should require months — not years. For valor awards such as Bronze Stars and Commendation Medals, which can be approved at …….
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