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WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense officials say the Pentagon is creating a new medal that can be awarded to troops who have a direct impact on combat operations, but do it from afar.

The Associated Press has learned that the new Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to individuals for "extraordinary achievement" related to a military operation. Unlike other combat medals, it does not require the recipient risk his or her life.

The medal is a recognition of the evolving 21st Century warfare where troops fight wars from computers and video screens. The medal could go to service members who never set foot in a combat zone, but launch drone strikes or cyberattacks that can kill or disable an enemy.

Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not yet been made.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)