Inside the DoD: Feb. 22, 2013

Editors note: The Distinguished Service Medal has now been eliminated after a review by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. For the full story and press release, click here.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced a new medal on Feb. 13, the Distinguished Warfare Medal. The new medal will be awarded to service members directly affecting combat operations who may not be who may not be geographically collocated.

Former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha was presented the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama for his actions during a battle in Afghanistan in October of 2009. Romesha was also honored a day later when he was inducted into the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes by Secretary Panetta. He spoke at the Pentagon and had this to say: “Four hundred Taliban versus 53 American soldiers: it just doesn’t seem fair … for the Taliban.”

The month of February is recognized by the United States as African American History Month. Today, nearly 18 percent of the all-volunteer military are African-American, and nine percent of officers. Brig. Gen. Stephen Twitty, Deputy Chief of Staff Communication, International Security Assistance Force, United States Forces – Afghanistan, and Clarence Johnson, Director, Diversity Management and Equal Employment Opportunity, share their thoughts on what the month means to them.

President Obama addressed reporters during a press conference about looming sequestration, which could be triggered March 1, if Congress fails to agree on a budget by then. Additionally, Under Secretary Of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer Robert Hale discussed what the Department of Defense plans are in the event of a furlough. Military service members are not subject to furlough. Their pay and MONETARY benefits will continue even if sequestration is triggered.

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