The assessment by U.S. military intelligence of the threat capability of potential adversaries drives the procurement process. But with the Cold War long over and with many potential security problems outside the strictly military realm, loosening the connection between threat assessment and military procurement is worth considering. Aside from other benefits, doing so would remove pressure from the intelligence establishment to make our enemies seem larger and more fearsome than they are. This would produce better intelligence.
The greatest threat to the United States, its allies, and its clients are the movements, groups, and allegiance patterns identified as "terrorist." Terrorist threats are feared more for their immediacy, likelihood, and surprise than for their scope. The extent of the current threat is nothing like World War II, which left more than 50 million corpses, nor like the era of confrontation with the Soviet Union, which could have created far more. There is no reason to exaggerate terrorist dangers beyond those posed by conventional and nuclear forces.