America's top general has signalled US troops could engage Islamic State militants on the battlefield, in spite of president Barack Obama's repeated assurance they will not. (Aussie ABC)
From the auxiliary, has, I can tell that ‘an American general’ must have told that, as in this sentence of VOA: “Today, a top general in the interior ministry (Ibrahim Khamas) was killed in a drive-by shooting.” And wondering why do they not use ‘an’ in the sentence, I got this idea: maybe determiner ‘a/an’ could be dropped when the NP explicitly denote that it is any single person.
But after I found out that ‘top general’ may be the top single one general who presides the general staffs, I got perplexed. Why isn’t there ‘an’ in the example?