Following Tester’s call, Pentagon moves to establish searchable awards database

Senator restated his call after Supreme Court overturned Stolen Valor Act

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it plans to establish a searchable database of military awards like medals, citations, and ribbons: 

“The men and women who earned these awards are national heroes.  We must do everything we can to honor and preserve the integrity of their service, their sacrifice and the courage they have given our nation.  This database will remove any doubt as to who America’s true military heroes are.  I look forward to helping the Defense Department move forward with this important project.”

Tester, who first called for such a database in a March letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, recently restated the need for a comprehensive database after the Supreme Court overturned the Stolen Valor Act.  That law made it a federal crime to lie about receiving a military decoration or medal, punishable with up to a year in prison.  While the Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act, it also suggested the creation of a database to refute false claims.

In his March letter to Panetta, Tester said that better record keeping would prevent the improper awarding of service awards.

Tester, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is also backing bipartisan legislation that specifically makes it illegal for an individual to profit or benefit from lying about their military service or record.  The measure was written specifically to address the lower court’s concerns about Constitutionality.