Hagel Decision on 'Nintendo Medal' Expected Next Week

WASHINGTON - We will soon know the fate of what some are calling the military's new ‘Nintendo medal.'

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told members of the House Armed Services Committee Thursday that he will make an official announcement early next week, but the Pentagon chief may have already tipped his hand.

"It is a concern to me, it's a concern to any veteran, anybody in the military," Hagel said during his first appearance on Capitol Hill since being confirmed as defense secretary.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal was rolled out in February and was supposed to be awarded to troops who operate drones or use other technical skills to fight America's wars without ever stepping foot on the battlefield.

Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said it was meant to recognize contributions made in a world of changing warfare, but veterans groups objected, with many outraged over the fact that the new award had been ranked above medals like the Bronze Star or the Purple Heart -- earned only by troops who serve on the front lines and in harm's way.

Production of the Distinguished Warfare Medal was halted last month, with Secretary Hagel asking Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey to lead a review and report back in 30-days.