Thanks in large measure to the experiences of Afghanistan and Iraq, there is less talk in Washington these days about revolutions in military affairs (RMA) or defense transformations based solely on technology. Our fascination with RMAs and transformation has been altered once again by history’s enduring lesson about the predominant role of the human dimension in warfare. Our infatuation with technology was a reflection of our own mirror imaging and an unrealistic desire to dictate the conduct of war on our own terms.
Recent conflicts highlight the need to always remember that the enemy is a human being with the capacity to reason creatively. In effect, he has a vote in the competitive process we know as war, and does not have to play by our rules. Certainly there are both revolutionary and evolutionary changes in the conduct of war. Social, political, and technological forces can impact the character of conflict. But they do not—they cannot—alter its fundamental nature.