Risks and Uncertainties in a Changing World
Gen. Donn Starry, USA (Ret.)
We cannot know when or where the U.S. Army will again be ordered into battle, but we must assume the enemy we face will possess weapons generally as effective as our own. And we must calculate that he will have them in greater numbers than we will be able to deploy, at least in the opening stages of a conflict. Because the lethality of modern weapons continues to increase sharply, we can expect very high losses to occur in short periods of time. Entire forces could be destroyed if they are not properly employed.
This is how the 1976 Field Manual FM 100-5 describes the risks and uncertainties U.S. forces could expect to encounter in modern battle. The doctrinal treatise goes on to describe the nature of that battle and project how U.S. Army forces should fight, organize, and train, and with what kinds of weapons they should be equipped in order to cope with the uncertainties of modern war. It reflects the traditional and characteristic way the "military mind" goes about solving the complex problems of operational concepts, tactics, organization, training, and equipment for the nation's military forces. While the citation is from an Army publication, it could as well have been an Air Force, Navy, or Marine Corps document.
In this case the doctrine writers also acknowledged what may be the most perplexing uncertainty of their trade: that of describing risks and uncertainties-- in other words, "the threat "--without specifying the geography, region, country, and actual forces so closely that their entire undertaking may be rendered irrelevant by even the slightest change in one or more of those elements. Therefore, in this case as in other such works, the authors have wisely sought to set forth