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MCLEAN, Va., Dec. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- released their picks for the top Military stories of 2013 this week.

The collection features 20 stories that put the military and defense industry in the spotlight and includes bitter fights over new service medals, benefits for same sex partners and a high profile Army official being cleared of wrongdoing in a sex scandal.

"This was a significant year for defense stories that weren't just for military audiences. Many of these stories grabbed the attention of civilian and military alike and some, like the Navy Yard shooting, were stories that led the news for days on end," said Ward Carroll, Editor of

The full list includes the top 20 stories of 2013, but a peek at the top ten stories are below:

    1. Hagel Takes Helm at Pentagon after Bitter FightIn February, Chuck Hagel
       was sworn in as defense secretary - President Barack Obama's third in
       just over four years - and said that one of his highest priorities will
       be ensuring fair treatment of troops, veterans and their families.
       Republicans had opposed their onetime colleague, casting him as
       unqualified for the job, hostile toward Israel and soft on Iran.

    2. IG Clears Allen of Wrongdoing in Email CaseMarine Gen. John Allen, the
       coalition commander in Afghanistan, was cleared of any wrongdoing
       following an investigation into his email correspondence with a Florida
       socialite connected to the sex scandal involving former CIA Chief David
       Petraeus. The IG found no professional misconduct by Allen in the
       voluminous email traffic he kept up over several years with Jill Kelley,
       a Tampa socialite.

    3. Case Dismissed Against IG Convicted of Sex AssaultThe conviction and
       sentence of the 31st Air Wing former inspector general convicted in
       November of sexual assault was set aside by the Third Air Force commander
       in February, releasing the fighter pilot from jail and reinstating him
       into the Air Force. A military jury had sentenced Lt. Col. James
       Wilkerson to a year in jail, forfeiture of all pay, and dismissal from
       the service.

    4. Obama Signs New Stolen Valor ActPresident Obama signed into law the
       latest version of the Stolen Valor Act in June, which makes it a federal
       crime for people to pass themselves off as war heroes by wearing medals
       they didn't rightfully earn. The legislation passed both houses of
       Congress with overwhelming majorities.

    5. Rape Scandal at the Naval AcademyA rape scandal involving a female
       midshipman and several members of the Navy football team led to issues of
       unlawful command influence in the military justice system - including
       that of commander-in-chief President Obama, who said he expected
       "consequences" for alleged inappropriate actions.

    6. Drone Service Medal Shot DownDefense Secretary Chuck Hagel repealed a
       medal created just two months earlier to recognize the achievements of
       drone pilots and cyber specialists, ordering that a separate
       "distinguishing device" be used instead. Veterans groups complained that
       the medal would unfairly be ranked above the Bronze Star with Combat "V"
       and the Purple Heart.

    7. DoD Offers Benefits to Same-Sex Partners The Department of Defense
       elected to extend the same benefits to same-sex married couples as it
       does to heterosexual married couples, from factoring in the spouse for
       housing allowance to burial at Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon
       announced in June.

    8. Bradley Manning Gets 35 Years in WikiLeaks CaseArmy Pfc. Bradley Manning,
       who was found guilty of passing classified intelligence to the website
       WikiLeaks, was sentenced to 35 years in prison and will be dishonorably
       discharged from the military. The 25-year-old soldier was sentenced in
       August at Fort Meade, Md. Manning admitted to leaking thousands of
       battlefield reports and diplomatic cables while serving as an
       intelligence analyst in Iraq.

    9. Navy Yard ShootingA Navy contractor named Aaron Alexis was identified as
       the lone gunman in a shooting spree that took the lives of 12 employees
       at the Navy Yard in Washington DC in September. Although no motive was
       established for the horrific crime, the investigation revealed that
       Alexis, shot dead by police on site, had undergone mental health
       treatment in the months before the shooting.

    10. Syria Weapons Deal Averts US Military ActionA diplomatic breakthrough on
        securing and destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile averted the
        threat of U.S. military action and might have swung momentum toward
        ending a horrific civil war.  Marathon negotiations between U.S. and
        Russian diplomats at a Geneva hotel produced a sweeping agreement that
        will require one of the most ambitious arms-control efforts in history.

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