The idea that American vital interests might have to be protected by entering the war against Germany and sending an American army to fight in Europe was deemed so utterly fatuous in 1916 that it played no part in American defense policies. Congress, press, and armed service leaders were not yet ready to think about the unthinkable. By contrast, Wilson spent most of 1916 thinking about the unthinkable as he savored a mediation scheme drawn up by Colonel House that risked American intervention in the Great War. Yet the three and five-year defense plans that were passed in the summer of 1916 would have been useless had America entered the world war at that time. When America did enter the war in 1917, both military programs had to be superseded by emergency legislation. Although his control over the nation's force posture was limited by a number of factors, he would find presidential dominion over foreign affairs, as he had written so many years earlier, to be nearly absolute.