Several weeks ago I posted about civilian staff receiving medals for 'serving' in Afghanistan and more recently highlighted MPs, who belong to the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme which awards medals to MPs who have served for 10 years or more.
More than half the recommendations for bravery medals for soldiers in Afghanistan are being turned down, former British forces commander Colonel Richard Kemp has said. Limits on the number of medals awarded for each six-month tour of duty mean only about one in 100 can ever be formally recognised.
The situation has prompted calls from war veterans and families of those who have lost loved ones in the fighting to award all troops a special medal in recognition of the specific dangers posed by insurgents.
All serving forces currently get a campaign medal - the same awarded for peacekeeping missions - but some are also recommended by officers for special recognition following acts of bravery.
These medals are issued on a quota system. Colonel Kemp said: "The way the quota is used at the moment is very strict the rules are very inflexible.
"Commanding officers are lucky to get a 50% strike rate for their med recommendations due to the conservative nature of senior officers who sit in London and decide these things."
The Ministry of Defence believes the quota system is necessary to protect the 'integrity' of the bravery medals. An MoD statement said: "British gallantry medals are highly respected and reflect the bravery of our Armed Forces."
Commanding officers, who work with their troops every day, are having half of their recommendations ignored. This is little to do with integrity and everything to do with rationing. How can the MoD ration military awards which should be freely given for acts of bravery over and above the call of duty? Possibly as easily as they can dish out medals to civilian staff.