Straight up, I think the unknown is usually the greatest threat. Knowledge = power. When you know for sure what the threats are, you can take action accordingly. However, with all that said, constantly treating the unknown as the PRIORITY threat can be both deadly and debilitating. For example: You are the team leader of a 4 man fire-team on patrol. Your team is constantly scanning everywhere--the unknown is dangerous. Suddenly your point-man identifies a hidden enemy gun emplacement--threat known. At this point, to consider the unknown the PRIORITY threat even when exposed to a dangerous KNOWN threat seems illogical. A threat has been identified as relevant and dangerous, IT should become the Priority target to engage (maybe not for the entire team--that can leave you exposed to surprises). The problem with giving the unknown priority status over known is this: You cannot react to the unknown; you cannot engage the unknown; you cannot conquer the unknown. While the unknown should always be respected and given due consideration/caution, a successful team cannot allow itself to be debilitated by it to the point of becoming useless against known threats/targets. Sometimes a team has to make less dangerous threats top priority in order to then deal with the greatest threat effectively.
Prioritizing Threats & Targets
On the battlefield one of the most vital skills is the ability to prioritize your threats and targets in order to decide which to engage first or how to otherwise react.
The question necessarily arises, "How do I prioritize targets correctly?" I suspect that there is no one perfect answer to this question, yet certainly there are factors to consider.
-What poses the greatest danger right now in this position?
-What is the greatest obstacle to accomplishing the objective?
-What will be the greatest threat after my next move, or, what is likely to become the next great threat?
These are just a few basic questions and in order to answer them, one must process a host of other questions:
-For each threat/target, what are the capabilities of the item in question? What are the capabilities or the "human factor" if there is a weapon operator etc. involved)?
-Can I adjust my strategy/position so that some threats are no longer relevant?
-What tools/weapons are at my disposal right now?
These are just a fraction of the questions to consider. What are some others?
On an even deeper level there is an interesting question to ask: "What is the most dangerous threat - one already identified, or the unknown?"
Please post on this topic and especially this question below in the Discussion Forum (DF).
Topic: Known or Unknown--What is the greatest threat
Dealing with the question rationally