Pentagon (Photo by Newscom)

Over the past year, Iran has declared itself a nuclear state and continues to expand their ballistic missile program, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has testified to Congress that Al Qaeda and its affiliates are planning a large-scale attack on American soil within the next six months, and failed Flight 253 Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has told the FBI that he met with other English speakers at a terrorist training camp in Yemen.

Meanwhile, the scientist at the center of Climategate now tells BBC News that there has been no statistically significant rise in temperature in the past fifteen years and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been forced to admit their 2007 report substantially overstated global warning’s impact on glacier loss, hurricane damage, and African crop failure.

So how is the Obama Administration focusing our precious national security resources? Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserve (rtd) explains in The Telegraph:

Under American law, every four years the US Defence Department must present to Congress a comprehensive review of the security threats and challenges to America. The security picture presented in the review provides the justification for planning and creating the appropriate military forces and capabilities. The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) is supposed to be a non-partisan and objective strategic document – free of partisan politics. … Last week the Defense Department released the 2010 QDR. It is a remarkable document.

However, it’s not what is in the document that surprises the reader – it’s what was left out. There presence of two elephants in their living room apparently escaped the notice of American’s top civilian and military leaders. Islamic radicalism does not receive any mention whatsoever in the American Defense Review and the threat posed by a nuclear Iran is mentioned in only one general sentence at the end of a document (page 101). To put this lack of discussion in proportion, contrast this non-discussion with other security issues mentioned in the document. For example, the security effects of climate change are highlighted and discussed in depth in eight pages of the document.

In late January [President Obama] demanded that Congress cut $2.5 billion from the defense budget for the purchase of C-17 transport planes. Obama declared the money for military transport was “waste, pure and simple”.

Of course, “waste” is a matter of interpretation. No one says that the C-17 is a bad aircraft or doesn’t do its job very effectively. In fact, it’s probably the best and safest large transport plane in the world today, and has done sterling service in Afghanistan and Haiti. But, according to Obama’s Pentagon officials, there is just no need to maintain such a large military transport fleet. If the Pentagon’s own assessment determines that there are not too many threats out there – and you can do that if you ignore minor things like Iranian nuclear weapons and the radicalisation of millions of followers of Islam – then you can feel safe in cutting defense expenditures and free up even more money for the President’s domestic agenda.

It’s a neat political trick to ignore the elephants in your living room. But Obama is making a huge gamble and betting the lives and security of Americans that these particular elephants will remain perfectly behaved for the next four years.

More Heritage research on defense spending here:

The Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review: Simply an Extension of the President’s 2010 Defense Budget Plans

President Obama’s 2011 Budget: How Congress Can Reform Defense Spending and Address Shortfalls