Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) is demanding a correction from the Defense Department -- seven years' worth, in fact.

Former assistant secretary of defense Richard N. Perle triggered the demand by telling the House Armed Services Committee recently that preparing annual reports for Congress on who bears the burden of defending NATO "is largely an exercise in thinking of ways to put the best gloss on some pretty dismal figures."

Speaking before the committee's panel on defense burden sharing, chaired by Schroeder, Perle added, "I know it because I superintended it for a while, and we look for statistics that make the allies look good."

Schroeder fired off a letter to Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci on Friday, declaring: "As a result of Mr. Perle's admissions, I urge you to review the 'Report on Allied Contributions to the Common Defense' from the period 1981-87 and make the appropriate corrections.

"A growing number of the American people feel abused by our allies," she wrote. "They feel that we spend a much greater portion of our wealth on the common defense, that we have too large a number of soldiers stationed on their territory and that the allies use the money they save on defense to subsidize their trade, creating our enormous trade deficit . . . .

"If the {Defense} Department's information is not credible, the popular resentment towards the allies will grow," she continued. "You do not do any service in the long run to the strength of our alliances by publishing a biased and misleading report . . . . "

Carlucci has been traveling, and an aide to Schroeder said that, as of yesterday, he had not replied.