More on the Pentagon's database from a DoD press briefing on 10 Jul 2012:
DOD News Briefing with George Little and Capt. Kirby from the Pentagon
Q: I want to ask you on a more contemporary issue that happened a couple weeks ago, the Supreme Court's decision on the Stolen Valor case.
Is the department reviewing the decision to come up with measures to help the public basically vet fakes via a database like the Military Times does or some other mechanism that would help -- help the public determine when some of these claims are erroneous?
MR. LITTLE: Very good question, Tony. And I know this is an issue of importance to many Americans and too many servicemembers.
The answer is yes. We are taking another look at that decision. We are exploring options to stand up a database of valor awards and medals. We haven't arrived at a final conclusion yet, but that process is ongoing and the goal is to stand up such a database.
Q: Is there a -- if you don't -- you might not know this -- but it would be database looking back to the -- through the Vietnam War or the mid-'60s or over the last 20 years? Has any of the parameters been laid out yet?
MR. LITTLE: I don't have specific parameters for you today.
Obviously, that's something that officials are taking a close look at. There are some complexities involved in looking back into history. We would obviously hope to be able to go as far back as possible, but we also want there to be integrity in the data.
So these are factors that are being weighed, and we're in the process of exploring those options. So the door is open.
Q: Did the secretary launch an initiative or did Mr. Johnson, the general counsel, launch it, as far as you know?
MR. LITTLE: The secretary supports the initiative, which is being led by Undersecretary Conaton.
Q: Just a follow-up on that: This -- this decision to relook at the database was -- came after the Supreme Court decision, correct?
MR. LITTLE: That is correct.
Q: And has there been any -- you know, the medal in question at the -- in the court case wasn't the Medal of Honor, right. So has there been a thought of -- you know, there are not that many of those. I mean, that would strike as relatively easy to get a, sort of, database of the, you know, one or two most prestigious medals out there. Has that -- rather than every Bronze Star and Silver Star --
MR. LITTLE: I think we have pretty strong information control around Medals of Honor already. But we're talking about not just Medals of Honor, but a wide range in a very large number of other awards inside the military.
CAPT. KIRBY: These are valor awards. These are personal awards you're given in valorous conditions. And, I mean, that can be everything from a Bronze Star right on up.
But you're right about the Medal of Honor. We have a hall just down -- just down the way here in the Pentagon where every single name is listed.
But that's what we're focusing on.
So they're in -- in other words, there's not a, sort of -- it's always been too difficult to do every -- too expensive, too big for every valor award, but, you know, Navy Crosses and, you know, Medals of Honor in a searchable database strike me as something that could be enacted at a lower cost and a --
MR. LITTLE: We're exploring a lot of options. I don't know that I can speculate as to -- as to what the final outcome might be, but the goal, of course, would be to try to develop a database as large as possible, again, ensuring the integrity of the information contained in the database.
Q: As you unfold -- as this unfolds, it'd be good for you to explain to the public why the Pentagon rejected this in 2005 and how things have advanced technologically in terms of records-keeping that allows you seven years later to revisit the issue and possibly set up a database.
MR. LITTLE: OK.
Q: That would be helpful to the public debate on this.
MR. LITTLE: All right. We'll take a look at that.