But the problem is in defining the level of participation that should be recognized as being worthy of special distinction. Is simply being in theatre enough? Is it being under fire? What about those back home that face the trauma of treating those that were there? Or that never faced enemy fire themselves but had to face the grizzly task of cleaning the results of combat from damaged vehicles? Or those that have to break the news of tragic loss to the families of those that are killed or injured. And is the trauma faced by those that are forced to deal with those same tasks when they occur outside what we consider as "war" any less significant for those individuals?
I'm in no way trying to downplay the sacrifice and physical/emotional impact of those that have gone to war for our nation, but I have a hard time defining a clear line at which this sacrifice is worthy of special distinction while those sacrifices on the other side of this line are not.
That's where I think the "star" (as in GCS) vs "medal" (as in GSM) is not a bad line to draw. It's based on geo location - if you were in/over (under, I guess, if sub crews are involved in a future conflict) then you get the GCS. If you were deployed outside Canada, but not in that theatre specifically, you get the GSM. This is where I think there should be either a third medal, or to expand GSM to remove the "outside Canada" bit.
I've said this previously, and the article mentions it, the interesting cases would be RPAS and Cyber - they are not in the geo area but have direct effects on the AOR - whether it be launching a Hellfire from 10000 km away, or sending a virus that cripples the enemy's comms structure. If the GCS and GSM require deployment outside Canada, then those folks may never receive recognition*.
While there has been precedent (ask how many medals the LRP crews got before Op Mobile kicked off), that's not reasonable. Then again, there is always uproar in some US military circles whenever the idea of a medal for RPAS crews is announced. The USAF has the Remote Effects Campaign Medal
which fits the intent.
* Yes, others don't receive recognition at this time either, like SAR crews or NORAD crews. I think they should get recognition as well, be it a SAR medal after X time or something like that.