The highest ranking member of the United States military killed in action since the Vietnam war has been identified as two star U.S. Army Maj. General Harold Greene, a 34 year Army veteran.
U.S. Army Major Gen. Greene was shot dead in what is known as a "blue on green" insider attack on Tuesday in Afghanistan. U.S. officials said a shooter wearing an Afghan military uniform opened fire at a training facility in Kabul.
A Pentagon official told CNN the gunman, a long serving Afghan soldier was also killed. At least 15 coalition troops, including eight other U.S. soldiers and a German General were wounded in Tuesday's attack.
Excluding the death and injury caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDS) often roadside bombs, 33% of casualties are the result of intentional attacks by local troops of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). There were six incidents in 2010, 15 in 2011 and at least 64 in 2012.
According to a RAND report in 2012, "green on blue" attacks accounted for one in seven of all NATO deaths in 2012 alone. Seth Jones, author of Afghanistan's Local War said after U.S. President Barack Obama announced the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2012, that it was critical to re-examine the vetting and recruitment process of ALP and other Afghan security processes to minimize insurgent infiltration.
“While ALP are currently vetted by Afghan, NATO, and community officials, there is variation in the quality, extent, and regularity of vetting. In the future, it will be important to periodically re-check active ALP to catch Taliban sympathizers.” Jones said.
In addition to obvious threat of Taliban infiltration to the Afghan Local Police and NATO forces, the greater threat may be in exacerbating political tension between the United States and Afghanistan. Seth Jones warned:
"A loss of trust between Afghan and U.S. soldiers would be extremely damaging, although the relationship thus far has been reparable."
During a Joint House and Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on December 7, 2011, then U.S. House Homeland Security Committee Chair, Peter King (R-NY) named the U.S armed services as the “most sought-after” target for radical Islamist extremist groups. King said members of the U.S. military are the No.1 target for terrorists not only abroad, but also within the homeland. Senator Joseph Lieberman's (I-CT) told a panel of experts: “the only Americans who have lost their lives in terrorist attacks in our homeland since 9/11 have been killed at U.S. military facilities."
United State Army Deputy Chief of Staff for personnel, Lt. Gen. Timothy L. Maude was killed during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the Pentagon, according to the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.