-- In The News --
Published: 08 October 2014
The Pentagon has changed its stance on awarding a medal for the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It said last week that service members taking part in the action in Iraq would receive the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal because their participation was part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
But Military Times reports this week that the issue remains unresolved. The publication was told by Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman, that the Pentagon is "working closely with U.S. Central Command to determine the most appropriate means to recognize participation in ongoing operations in Iraq and Syria. No decisions have been made yet."
One reason is the current operation has no name. DoD regulations require troops to deploy as part of a specific operation for which the medal has been approved, the publication reported.
Military Times points out that OEF, which is most often linked to the fight in Afghanistan, was originally meant to include any operation related to the attacks of 9/11. The publication also notes that the effort to help fight the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa already has a name—Operation United Assistance.
But the operation growing in Iraq remains nameless, at least for now. Rear Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said Friday that the mission has grown to a point that names are being considered at the combatant command level.