In Monday's editions The Post incorrectly identified Michael Pillsbury, a defense adviser to Ronald Reagan, as a consultant to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Pillsbury is a consultant with the Senate Steering Committee, an unofficial group of Republican senators dealing with conservative issues.

If you take them at their word, Ronald Reagan and his key military advisers would launch the United States on the biggest arms buildup since the dawn of the missile age two decades ago.

"Out" would be SALT II or any arms control agreement like it.

"In" would be fresh billions for quick fixes in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, including immediately digging more holes for missiles.

"Out" would be "essential equivalence," the current way of saying that the United States need not equal the Soviet Union in all kinds of weapons.

"In" would be "true equality" or "superiority."

There is no mystery about all this. Reagan, the Republicans' presidential candidate, has said as much. But the import of what he has said taken on crucial significance now that he is one of the two men most likely to become president of the United States in January.

The same goes for the views of his key military advisers, who will shape what Reagan says and does in the field of national security.

Reagan in a judgement that would become the engine for stepping up the arms race if he became president, said on March 17 that "in military strength we are already second to one: namely, the Soviet Union.

"And that," he told the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations "is a very dangerous position in which to be. . . .

"Soviet investments in strategic arms are continuing at a rate nearly three times as large as ours, and their investments in conventional arms will be nearly twice as large. . . ."

"Once we clearly demonstrate to the Soviet leadership that we are determined to compete, arms control negotiations will again have a chance," Reagan said.

"The SALT II treaty should be withdrawn," Reagan declared in a written reply to questions submitted by the Arms Control Association. "And I especially believe that the U.S. should not abide by its terms prior to ratification."

In other words the United States is behind the Soviet Union and must go all out to catch up before trying to bring the arms race under control.

"The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan indicates that the Soviet Union does not share American expectations for a future in which the role of military power is diminished; we must therefore be prepared to take arms procurement measures best suited to U.S. national security interests," Reagan told the association.

Only if the Soviets behave better in the future, said Reagan, should the United States try to negotiate an arms control agreement "which legitimately reduces nuclear weapons on both sides to the point where neither country represents a threat to the other."

But won't stepping up the arms race further distort the already misshapen American economy? Retired Lt. Gen. Edward Rowny, cochairman of Reagan's military advisory panel, answers that the U.S. economy could stand the gaff better than the Soviet economy.

President Carter, who at first resisted anything more than a 3 percent boost in defense spending, after allowing for inflation, has gone along with annual increases of about 5 percent. Even that much of an increase will push defense spending over the trillion-dollar mark.

Some of Reagan's military advisers believe that nothing less than increasing defense spending by 10 percent a year will do. Such an increase in the prospective $150 billion defense budget for fiscal 1981 alone would come to $15 billion -- equal to the Education Department's total budget for fiscal 1981.

If Reagan, as president, were to do what he and his advisers have recommended, some of the extra billions for defense would be used to restore the B1 bomber that Carter canceled, to resume production of the Minuteman ICBM and dig more silos for the missiles while waiting for the MX blockbuster missile to be built, and to step up development of space weapons and antiballistic missiles -- bullets to stop bullets.

Several of Reagan's military advisers believe it is too late to argue about guns over butter. They favor nothing less than crash programs.

As a result of Soviet military growth, Frank Barnett, one of Reagan's military advisers, warned in 1977, the United States "is about where Britain was in 1938, with the shadow of Hitler's Germany darkening all of Europe."

Not all of Reagan's advisers take such a dark view of the military balance.

But the 34-member panel is decidedly hawkish, with nine generals and one admiral among its number.

The crushing realities that weigh on a president, but not a candidate, exert a restraining influence in making decisions about weapons powerful enough to incinerate the planet. Competing demands, such as balancing the budget, also historically have kept presidents from going hog wild on defense spending in peacetime. Similar demands would confront Reagan, too, if he became president.

Yet what Reagan and his military advisers have said indicates the direction in which they would take the country, if not how fast. The views of Rowny and his cochairman, William R. Van Cleave, are especially relevant because they will be sifting through conflicting advice in shaping position papers for Reagan on national defense.

"The treaty is not an equal one," said Rowny of SALT II, in testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee last year after resigning from the Army. The 63-year-old general represented the Joint Chiefs of Staff for six years during the SALT II negotiations.

Rowny especially objected to allowing the Soviets to build 308 blockbuster land missiles, for which the United States has no equal, including the MX, and to leaving the Soviet Backfire bomber uncovered in the SALT II limits. a

"Essential equivalence will be lost in the early 1980s," Rowny told the committee. "We should first arrest and then reverse this strategic situation as a matter of highest national priority. . . ."

Once the United States matches the Soviets all across the spectrum of military competition, said Rowny, "then and only then will they begin to turn down their momentum" and seek a more equitable arms control treaty than SALT II.

"Their economy cannot remain elastic forever," said Rowny. "Certainly they do put a lot of resources, 12 to 14 percent of their gross national product -- which is half ours -- into military forces. . . . I don't think they can spend much beyond their current spending, and I think the Soviets realize it. Sooner or later the strain is going to show on the Soviets. . . .

"I would, concomitantly with our buildup, go to the Soviets and say: 'Look, we are going to match you wherever you draw the line. However, we don't believe that the line has to be that high, and, in any event, we are not going to accept an unequal treaty. Therefore, let's renegotiate right now; let's arrive at equality, which is what we both want.'"

Because of U.S. restraint in building up its arsenal, the general contended, "they are racing ahead while we are standing still. . . . I would immediately begin to dig holes" to reduce the fulnerability of present-day missiles by forcing the Soviets to cover more targets. "I would accelerate" the MX blockbuster missile, "begin working in earnest on a follow-on bomber" to the B52 and step up the productions of cruise missiles.

Van Cleave, 44, of Los Angeles, served on the SALT I negotiating team. He also was a member of the "B Team" that made an independent assessment of the U.S-Soviet military balance in 1976-77, and is director of the University of Southern California's strategic studies program at its school of International Relations.

Van Cleave told the Senate Armed Services Committee last year:

"What is abundantly clear, is that whatever analyses used, the trends during the 10 years of SALT, and the seven years since the SALT I agreements, have been seriously adverse to the United States and we are now facing an unprecendented threat to our national security." He added that SALT "has done nothing to stabilize the strategic balance."

Van Cleave said that SALT II should be rejected; that the United States should shore up its strategic nuclear forces to right the balance. He recommended a series of "quick fixes" to help right the U.S.-Soviet strategic balance, including:

Employ the "shell game" deployment envisioned for MX -- moving one missile among several holes to keep Soviet gunners guessing -- for existing Minuteman land missiles.

Reopen the Minutemen III production line.

Acelerate development of the MX and production of cruise missles.

Put new engines in B52 bombers. Resume the B1 bomber program.

Place cruise missiles on the 10 Polaris submarines slated for retirement.

Accelerate antiballistic-missile (ABM) development and "deploy as needed.

"Build up antiaircraft defenses and expand civil defense.

(A pentagon research executive said that dispersing the Minuteman would not provide the desired survivability sought by Van Cleave. He said further that putting cruse missiles on Polaris subs, while technically attractive, would cost up to $2 billion. The Polaris hulls would last only six years as cruise missile platforms, he said, and -- in the view of Defense Secretary Harold Brown -- would not be worth the cost.

Van Cleave's view of how the Soviets approach strategic strength and nuclear war was set fourth in an article entitled, "The Use of Military Power to Achieve Political Objectives," printed in the fall 1977 issue of "Journal of International Relations." Van Cleave wrote:

"The Soviet Union has been unrestrained by any theory of limitations, such as how much is enough, and approaches military power with the very simple view that the more you have the better it is. And whether or not there is a specific, well-defined reason for it, the more power you have, the better it is militarily and politically.

"We do now realize that the Soviet doctrine clearly holds that nuclear war fighting capability, at any military level, and war winning and survival are operational goals; and that superiority is, in every conceivable index, a virtue."

Most of Reagan's 32 other military advisers have views similar to those of Rowny and Van Cleave. Here is who they are:

Frank barnett, 58, New York City, president, National Strategy Information Center, a tax-emempt organization that states its leaders believe, "neither isolationism nor pacifisim provides realistic solutions to the challenge of 20th century totalitarianism."

Barnett wrote in a preface to the center's book, "Strategic Options for the Early Eighties: What Can Be Done?" that "if Washington continues to delay or scrap new American weapons, 1984 may clarify for the allied remnants that the United States itself could be Finlandized into inpotence while Moscow completed its annexation of the oil of the Persian Gulf and mineral storehouse of Africa. . . ."

Air Force Gen. David A. Burchinal, 65, of Doylestown, Pa., former deputy commander of U.S. forces in Europe, who retired in 1973.

Joseph Churba, of Arlington, president of the Center for International Security and former Air Force Intelligence analyst, contends that Carter administration Mideast policy, especially the peace accords between Egypt and Israel, is ill-conceived. He contends Carter is tilting toward the Arabs at the expense of Israel.

Churba wrote of the Mideast peace treaty in the journal "Comparative Strategy" earlier this year: "The miscalculations were manifold. In the wake of the new peace treaty, Syria and Iraq moved toward rapprochemont and unity; the Palestine Liberation Organization agreed to cooperate and Saudi Arabia aligned itself with the radical rejectionists. . . ."

Jacquelyn K. Davis, 29, of Stanford, Pa., at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, a Cambridge, Mass., research organization. She was one of the authors of an institute report that concluded: "The inherent deficiency of the SALT II treaty is its inability to achieve the most important objective of arms control: strategic stability. . . . The principal option available to the United States is to press a vigorous research and development program and to deploy weapon systems needed to offset a growing imbalance of strategic military forces. . . ."

Retired Army Lt. Gen. John Davis, 71 of Arlington, assistant director of The National Security Agency.

Retired Air Force Gen. Russell E. Dougherty, 59, of Arlington, former head of the Strategic Air Command. He endorsed the SALT II treaty last year as a "modest and useful step" providing the United States modernizes its arsenal. A fellow officer said Dougherty is far less hawkish than most of his colleagues on the Reagan advisory panel.

Dougherty has warned that the Soviets are developing and deploying nuclear weapons for fighting, not just deterring. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee last year that the United States must do likewise.

"I find it unthinkable," Dougherty said, "even immoral, that we would tolerate the basing of our deterrent strategy and our basic security interest solely on a retaliatory conceptic of mutually assured destruction and solely on a strategic arsenal with no war fighting capability."

Stephen P. Gibert, 55, of McLean, director of Georgetown University's National Security Studies Program at the graduate school. In a book, "United States National Security in the Decade Ahead," he wrote that to buttress the Egypt-Israel peace treaty the United States might have to reassure Israel through the "semipermanent stationing of American troops in Israel."

Leon Goure, 57, of Potomac, who was associate director of University of Miami's Advanced International Studies Institute, and who has been warning for years that the Soviets are building an extensive civil defense program in hopes of winning any nuclear war. His reports on Soviet progress have expanded U.S. civil defense effort.

Retired Lt. Gen. Daniel O. Graham, 55 of Arlington, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and cochairman of the Coalition for Peace Through Strength.

"The most effective response to the current strategic imbalance," Graham told the Senate Appropriations subcommittee May 7, "is in a technological end run rather than in an attempt to match mass with mass. The most promising area for such a technological leapfrog of the Soviets is in a combination of superior U.S. space technology and antiballistic missile defense technology.

William R. Graham, 43, of Marina Del Ray, Calif., a physicist and Defense Department consultant.He recently coauthorized with Paul H. Nitze, SALT II critic, an article concluding that U.S. missiles could be upgraded and deployed in more survivable modes to improve the nation's nuclear offense.

Walter F. Hahn, 53, of Cambridge, Mass., a former deputy director of a division within the Institute for Defense Analysis, a Pentagon think tank, who currently is at the Foreign Policy Research Institute; University of Pennsylvania.

Roland Herbts, 53, of Marine Del Rey, Calif., former Pentagon research executive; currently at R & D Associates.

Martin R. Hoffman, 48 of McLean, general counsel of the Defense Department in 1974 and secretary of the army in 1977.

Peter C. Hughes, 34, of Seattle, Boeing Aerospace Co. executive specializing in international plans and operations. Hughes has said that arms control agreements have failed to bring military stability.

Chalmers Johnson, 48, of Berkeley, Calif., chairman of the political science department at the University of California. Johnson favors bolstering the U.S. 7th Fleet in the Western Pacific to reassure China and Japan.

William R. Kintner, 65, of Philadelphia, a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania and former ambassador to Thailand. He championed former president Nixon's decision to deploy the Safeguard ABM defense. Kintner expressed his pro-ABM philosophy in 1969, writing: The United States and the Soviet Union to engage in more meaningful arms control negotiations because the chances of suffering a devastating attack would be reduced.

Lawrence J. Korb, 40, of Newport, R.I., a professor of management at the U.S. Naval War College, who favors putting the Minutemen missile back into production, accelerating construction of the Trident missile submarine, building 200 B1 bombers and beefing up antibomber defenses while pursuing "vigorous" development of an advanced ABM. He is slated to become director of defense studies at the American Enterprise Institute here.

Charles M. Kupperman, 29, of Washington, defense analyst at the Committee on the Present Danger. He contends that "the Soviet Union is dedicated to the strategy of firing the first salvo, thereby linking counterforce and damage limitation" in nuclear war.

John F. Lehman Jr., 37, of McLean, president of the Abington Corp. and former deputy director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

J. William Middendorf II 55, of McLean, president of Financial General Bankshares and secretary of the Navy from 1974 to 1977, who championed a bigger Navy when serving as its secretary and since. He has stated: "I see the biggest problem as too few ships to meet the threat."

Retired Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, 68, of McLean, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970 to 1974. "I unequivocally oppose SALT II as now presented," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee last year. He said at another point that "the United States has no air defense worthy of the name. . . . It is mandatory that the United States move forward with a major and accelerated buildup of our defense capabilities, both strategic and conventional. . . ."

Patrick J. Parker, 49, of Monterey, Calif., chairman of the National Security Affairs department at the Navy's graduate school. He was one of three authors of an article in the "Journal of International Relations," summer, 1977, which said: "At the very least, SALT has served to cement and prolong a passive U.S. attitude toward defense needs, particularly defense needs. . . . Continued self-restraint, reliance on assured destruction and blind denial of the profound political consequences of strategic imbalances makes no sense whatsoever. . . ."

Michael R. Pillsbury, 35, of Annapolis, a specialist in Sino-Soviet military affairs, who worked at Rand Corp.; Senate Appropriations Committee consultant. In the fall 1975 issue of "Foreign Policy" magazine he made a case fo entering into a U.S.-Chinese military relationship, contending it would cement relations between the two countries, help deter the Soviets from attacking China and draw off some Soviet forces pitted against the West on the NATO front.

Carter since has adopted some ideas expressed in Pillsbury's article, including approving export licenses to American firms for the sale of what the author called "passive military systems," such as trucks, warning radar and the use of U.S. civilian satellites.

Jeffrey Record, 56, of Silver Spring, formerly a Brooklyn Institution defense specialist and aide to Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.); now senator fellow at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Record has written pieces critical of Carter's Rapid Deployment Force, contending it is not very deployable, partly because of the mismatch between transport aircraft and armor.

William R. Schneider, 38, of Rockville Center, N.Y., a defense specialist at the Hudson Institute; coeditor of a book "Why ABM?" In an article in the book, "United States National Security in the Decade Ahead," Schneider called for a 10 percent increase in the Pentagon budget, after allowing for inflation, every year through fiscal 1983 and 5 percent a year after that.

Harriet Fast Scott, 60, at McLean, a Soviet specalist and the wife of Air Force Col. William F. Scott.

William F. Scott, 60, of McLean U.S. air attache in Moscow from 1962 and 1970-1972. "Control of Western access to raw material is no doubt a major objective of Soviet strategy and the U.S.S.R.'s perceived need for an ability to project military force," Scott wrote in the March 1977 issue of Air Force Magazine.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, 49, of Oklahoma city, former astronaut who retired last year as Air Force deputy chief of staff in charge of research, development and acquisition. He was warned of the Soviet's broad-based military research programs and he could supply expertise for Reagan's speeches in this area.

Retired Air Force Gen. John W. Vogt Jr., 60, of Annapolis, a former commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and of the 7th Air Force, which fought in Vietnam.

Retired Marine Gen. Lewis Walf, 67, of Orlando, Fla., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps., who retired in 1971. He commanded Marines in the northern part of Vietnam during the war from 1965 to 1967. He complained about civillan restrictions placed on American military power during that war, lambasted, the press for negative reporting and said the United States could have won the war.

Army Gen. Vernon R. Walters, 63, of Arlington, deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1972 to 1976.

Seymour Weiss, 55, of Bethesda, vice president of the Abington Corp. and director of the State Department's Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs in 1973; ambassador to the Bahamas in 1974. He termed Carter's attempt to curb arms sales abroad by restricting U.S. transactions a bankrupt policy. "We must get it fixed in our strategic consciousness that the Soviets believe that the goal of superior military power is paramount and must be sought to the extent the U.S. allows," Weiss wrote in the fall 1977 "Journal of International Relations."