Letter To Members of the House-Senate Conference on the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008
Please keep the Cold War Victory Medal, as passed by the House in SEC 556, H.R.1585, in the final language of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008.
Fifteen years after Allied victory in the 46-year struggle that was the Cold War, it is time to recognize the contributions of the American Armed Forces to victory in that conflict, and the unitary nature of the global conflict. The Cold War victory was made possible by doctrines of containment, deterrence, and defense, all of which depended on steadfastness and dedication of the U.S. Armed Forces.
During the Cold War, our Armed Forces stood up to Communist threats in Greece, Berlin, Korea, Western Europe, Cuba, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Central America, the Taiwan Straits, and the high seas. The confrontations included missions and periods that were notrecognized with service or campaign medals, as well as providing defense in depth through nuclear deterrence and naval patrols. Defense of the free world included a network of alliances and military advisory and assistance missions, such as that deployed to Greece in 1948, and massive deployments such as the four U.S. Army divisions sent to reinforce NATO in 1951. As President Kennedy declared in 1961, deterrence can only be credible when backed by sufficient conventional forces.
While DoD has opposed the Cold War Victory Medal for reasons we believe are contrary to DoD’s position statement, the Cold War certificate does not explicitly recognize military service, and can be given for a single day of civilian employment in the post office – thus it is not a military award.
Regarding the medal, DoD used an exaggerated cost estimate of $240 million in support of that opposition. This is ten times the CBO estimate, and makes extreme assumptions. Legislatively mandated awards of medals have not historically resulted in high levels of demand based on past service. Over a three year period (2004-2006), the Korea Defense Service Medal was awarded to no more than 192,000 individuals (out of an estimated 2 million eligible) at a procurement cost of $1.41 per medal. Because at least 92,000 of these medals were awarded in theater, the three-year legacy cost (even given DoD’s flawed $10 per medal assumption) would come to no more than $1 million
Contrary to DoD’s assertion of “duplicate recognition,” much of the Cold War service occurred during periods for which no medals such as the NDSM were available, and a “victory medal” by definition does not duplicate other medals.
There is more than ample precedent for Congress legislating medals over DoD’s opposition. The Korea Defense Service Medal (FY 2003 NDAA), separate campaign medals for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (H.R.3104 – passed January 20, 2004), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals for service in El Salvador (FY 1996 NDAA) and IFOR/SFOR service in Bosnia (FY 1998 NDAA).
We ask each of you to join in support of keeping the Cold War Victory Medal in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008 emerging from Conference, so that it may be voted on and signed into law. It is time those who served in our Armed Forces during the Cold War got the respect and recognition they deserve.
Frank M. Tims, Ph.D. Charles Pepin,
Chairman Chief of Staff
American Cold War Veterans
Ph.D. Charles Pepin,
Chairman Chief of Staff
Korea Defense Veterans of America
Proper recognition for Cold War veterans is long overdue. Thanks.
Sean P. Eagan
ACWV Public Affairs Director
Cold War Vets Blog
Support Cold War Medal Act 2007
Text of Legislation