Fred Reed {"Let's Reform the Military Reformers," Outlook, Oct. 11} wrote with justification about the damage caused by incompetents who pass off flawed, poorly researched ideological tracts in the guise of legitimate defense analysis. In recent years it has become commonplace for promising defense programs to be attacked in slipshod, error-filled books and essays written by uninformed or, at best, partially informed investigators.

It is unfortunate, however, that Mr. Reed chose to direct his attack to a very specific group of people: the "Military Reformers." Indeed, Mr. Reed directs his most vicious attacks to Dina Rasor of the Project on Military Procurement and Norman Cousins. Neither of these individuals deserves the name "Military Reformer." The military reform movement originated in a serious effort to allocate America's finite defense resources in the best manner. Many highly capable, intellectually honest defense analysts have lent their names and reputations to this effort to establish the optimum politically viable defense.

First-rate scholarship with provocative insights has been produced by reformers such as Edward Luttwak, John Boyd and Jeffrey Barlow. Likewise, Rep. Jim Courter (R-N.J.), one of the most thoughtful and capable members of Congress on defense issues (and a strong supporter of President Reagan's defense program), has taken a leadership role in the Congressional Military Reform Caucus. The common unifying thread that unites these individuals is a desire for the United States to have the military capability to satisfy its national security requirements -- at the optimal price.

Mr. Reed has a point. To the extent that military reformers use second-rate research to support ideological platforms, these individuals must be taken to task for their irresponsibility. But military reformers should not be singled out. Bad scholarship is bad scholarship, whether it is the work of a tenured university professor, someone from the Project on Military Procurement, a military reformer or even, dare I say it, a member of the press.

Mr. Reed concluded that "by their relentlessly sloppy research and cultivated ignorance, they make themselves appear as lightweights." It is regrettable that The Post itself did not take this comment to heart. In an article in the same section {"Giving Weapons a Good Name"}, The Post hopelessly mangled the derivation of the MX missile. It's name is MX-Peacekeeper, not MX-Peacemaker. There is, in fact, an interesting story of how the MX came to be named, but it seems that to have reported that would have gotten in the way of a good story line.

MICHAEL ENNIS Defense Analyst, National Institute for Public Policy Fairfax

As the president of the Fund for Constitutional Government, which sponsors the Project on Military Procurement, I take exception to Fred Reed's piece. Dina Rasor, the project's director, is as principled and honest an investigator as anyone I have met in Washington in the past 20 years. Why do Mr. Reed and The Post feel the need to go after the Davids instead of the Goliaths?

ANNE B. ZILL Washington

If the size of a man's character is framed by the issues he takes on, Fred Reed's article is the work of a little man -- a mean-spirited, sniping, petty man, in fact, who reduces the national defense debate to scurrilous personal attacks on people like Dina Rasor and Pierre Sprey.

Dina Rasor has provided yeoman's service to the public, hammering away at the outrageous prices we are paying for defense hardware. This steady drumbeat of exposure has prompted reforms, albeit limited ones, that have saved taxpayers millions of dollars.

Pierre Sprey advocates the sensible proposition that weapons ought to be designed and built with the reality of combat in mind. In the past few months I've interviewed weapons designers, sergeants, colonels, generals and admirals. Most of them had never heard of Mr. Sprey, and they're saying the same thing.

Mr. Reed appears to be trying to make a name for himself by clawing and scratching at the reputations of others. Who among these three is the real opportunist, and which two are really concerned about national security?

DAVID EVANS Falls Church