Nerys Ghemor wrote:
I've always figured that while the Federation did have superior technology than the Cardassians due to a combination of superior resources and a freer society, the Cardassians had superior discipline and tactics--better use of what they did have--that made them on par with the Federation in combat.
After all, combat is simply one of many duties for the Federation Starfleet, not their primary concern. While I'm sure many of the enlisted security personnel are first and foremost defenders, the Starfleet as a whole is geared towards exploration, science, diplomacy and peacekeeping, with a mandate for defence on top of it. Cardassian soldiers are soldiers first, anything else second. I don't think it's strange to suggest they'd be well trained enough to hold their own.
And for what it's worth, the Talarians managed to hold their own too, at least in a short border conflict, despite their
ships being about two hundred years behind the Federation's in terms of technology, so in the Star Trek setting technology most certainly isn't everything (as in reality, of course).