Defense Secretary Harold Brown said Thursday it was misleading to allege that US forces were unprepared for war and argued that the Soviet Union's military problems were more serious. Defense Department officials insisted that Mr. Brown's speech in El Paso, Texas, was not a political address.
But military preparedness is a key issue in the US election campaign, and the major broadcast networks were invited to travel with him to cover the speech, a text of which was released here.
He said recent press reports alleging that many Army divisions, Navy ships, and Air Force planes were not ready for combat were extremely misleading. Mr. Brown said US strategic nuclear forces were fully ready to respond in minutes to a surprise attack.