U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene is killed in an August 5 “green on blue” attack at an Afghan base that wounds fifteen others. He was a devoted officer and father who had given more than thirty years of service. Greene held a Ph.D. in material sciences and had been long recognized for his collaborative, effective style of leadership. As War on the Rocks notes, this marks the first wartime death of a general officer since the Vietnam War.
President Obama authorizes both air strikes and humanitarian aid to blunt advance of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. This was accompanied by an immediate airlift of emergency supplies to roughly 50,000 Yazidi refugees, stranded in the mountains of Sinjar for days without food or water. U.S. planes have since bombed ISIS artillery positions that had attacked Turkish forces defending Erbil, near where U.S. personnel are stationed.
Remembering the human side of the Army drawdown. An involuntarily separated Army Major pens a candid letter to Thomas Ricks on the subject. Elsewhere, the Pentagon pushes back against the controversy of delivering pink slips to soldiers deployed in war zones: there’s no other choice. And still elsewhere, USA Today reports that African American officers are being involuntarily separated from the Army at nearly twice the rate of their white counterparts.
In defense intelligence gathering, the future is in the open source. This is the conclusion of a new Wall Street Journal article that interviews outgoing Defense Intelligence Agency director General Michael Flynn, tracing—among other things—the role of social media analysis in the MH17 investigation. For more on the evolving nature of intelligence gathering, see Flynn’s remarkably candid interview with Blogs of War, where he reflects on his 33-year career. Flynn’s last day with DIA was August 7.
Weekend Reader bonus: Footage from a “helicopter rodeo” that must be seen to be believed. Don’t try this at home, or anywhere else.