T H E C O N S T A N T S THE NATURE OF WAR 

W​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​hat is the nature of irregular warfar​‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‌‌‌‍‍​e?

We cannot predict exactly what kind of war, or for what purposes, the armed forces of the United States will find themselves engaged in over the next quarter century; we can only speculate about possible enemies and the weapons they will bring to the fight. However, we can state with certainty that the fundamental nature of war will not change. In a democracy such as the United States, political aims, pressures, and hesitations have always conditioned military operations – and will continue to do so. “When whole communities go to war… the reason always lies in some political situation.”5 War is a political act, begun for political purposes. Indeed, both nonstate actors such as insurgents and transnational movements such as Al Qaeda use force for political ends. Thus, war retains its political dimension in the twenty-first century, even when it originates in the actions of non-state and transnational groups.