In the opinion-page article "Treaties and Troop Placement: What's the Plan?" Feb. 15, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) of Texas asks: "What are the most likely future threats for which we must prepare?" I believe we must prepare for threats that are likely but often not terribly dangerous, as well as for those that are dangerous but perhaps not likely.
America's military has rarely been able to anticipate accurately where, when, who, and how it was going to fight.
As colonies, as an isolated republic, and as the world's leading power, we have steadfastly prepared for the wrong wars. Almost always we have emerged victorious because of the energy and intelligence of our people, the adaptability of our democratic institutions and leaders when confronted by crisis, and the resilient capabilities we have (sometimes unwittingly) built in to our armed forces.
Given our historical myopia, we need to prepare for a wide variety of threats all over the world. We should balance current readiness with global-threat identification and monitoring, maintenance of technological superiority, and the ability to adapt and reconstitute overwhelming force against the threats that might arise.
I suggest Senator Hutchison rephrase her question, asking "How do we identify - in a timely manner - the threats for which we must prepare and organize our resources to adapt?"
These opinions are my own and don't reflect the positions of the Department of Defense.
Edward M. McClure
Lieutenant Colonel, General Staff
Headquarters, Department of the Army