The Purple Heart: Background and Issues for Congress
Congressional research rept.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The Purple Heart is one of the oldest and most recognized American military medals, awarded to service members who were killed or wounded by enemy action. The conflicts of the last decade have greatly increased the number of Purple Hearts awarded to service members. Current events have spurred new debate on current eligibility criteria for the Purple Heart. Medical conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD and shootings on U.S. soil have prompted some to consider changing the eligibility requirements for the Purple Heart, while others believe those changes may cheapen the value of the medal and the sacrifices current recipients have made. In the past, efforts to modify the Purple Heart s eligibility requirements have been contentious, and veterans groups can be very vocal concerning eligibility changes. While medal requirements are often left to the military and executive branch to decide, Congress is showing increased interest and involvement in Purple Heart eligibility, utilizing its constitutional power to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces U.S. Constitution, Article I, 8, Clause 14. Several bills were under consideration in the 112th Congress that addressed eligibility for the Purple Heart the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act H.R. 4310, companion bills to expand Purple Heart eligibility H.R. 5144 and S. 2885, and the 2011 Stolen Valor Act H.R. 1775 and S. 1728. None of the proposed language pertaining to the Purple Heart was enacted into law. Recent debates have raised several questions about the Purple Heart. In some respects, how an event is defined can determine eligibility is a service member the victim of a crime or a terrorist attack
- Government and Political Science