U.S. Army photo

In his first public hearing on Capitol Hill since he became secretary of Defense in January, James Mattis made an unusual proclamation: It’s time for the United States to go to war.

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Photo courtesy of New England College

War has played a critical role in our nation’s history, but over the years authorizing war has significantly changed. If you’ve ever been confused about who actually has the power to declare war — the last time that happened was World War II — or what the difference is between a declaration of war and an authorized use of military force, this graph may shed a little light.

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