A comprehensive Pentagon database containing the names of combat valor award recipients since September 11, 2001, will be put on the Pentagon website to raise awareness of those who received the awards, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a Congressional Panel Wednesday.
The database is an effort to allow the public to officially see if a person received a specific award for valor in combat, in an effort debunk individuals who claim they received an award when they did not. The Supreme Court recently struck down a federal law making it a crime to falsely claim military medals earned.
"You're all aware that free speech allows someone to lie about awards," Panetta told a House panel at a joint hearing of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
"Free speech is one thing but dishonoring those on the battle field is something else," he said.
The website will contain the names of recipients of the Medal of Honor through the Silver Star from September 11, 2001 on, according to Panetta. A list of valor medal recipients prior to September 11 will eventually make it to the website, but because of the number of records, it will take a while, according to Pentagon officials.
The site, http://valor.defense.gov/, notes it is still "under development" and at the moment only contains listings for Medal of Honor recipients.