A line was inadvertently dropped from a speech by former Defense Secretary Harold Brown excerpted in For the Record last Thursday. The passage should have said that American deterrent retaliatory forces ''are now, and consistently have been, adequately secure against a Soviet preemptive attack seeking to destroy our ability to retaliate.'' (Published 6/10/90)

From remarks by Harold Brown, secretary of defense in the Carter administration, at the Arms Control Association's annual dinner in Washington last month:

I continue to believe that strategic defense will not be of value against a massive nuclear attack by such a sophisticated adversary as the Soviet Union. Such defenses would be ineffective against a massive attack on our fragile urban-industrial society, because of the tremendous destructive power of even a small number of the weapons that would certainly penetrate even the best system. Moreover, such a defense is not necessary to prevent a successful preemptive attack on our deterrent retaliatory forces. These forces are now, and consistently have been, adequately secure to destroy our ability to retaliate.

If changes in the Soviet threat make it essential to improve survivability of our land-based ICBMs, mobility or multiple protective shelters will be a cheaper and more effective answer than missile defense against tens of thousands of attacking warheads ...

With the U.S.-Soviet confrontation fading, some argue that an SDI system is needed to protect us from future nuclear-armed fanatics in the developing world. But this argument does not stand up under critical examination. If Third World and terrorist weapons of mass destruction emerge as a threat to the United States, they are far more likely to be delivered by aircraft, ships sailed into our harbors, or packing crates smuggled across our borders, than by ballistic missiles. In short, there is no compelling reason in the foreseeable future to move from research and technology development to deployment of missile defenses -- even at the single site permitted by the ABM Treaty.