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“Modest reforms to pay and compensation will improve readiness and modernization. It will help keep our all-volunteer force sustainable and strong. Keeping faith also means investing sufficient resources so that we can uphold our sacred obligations to defend the nation and to send our sons and daughters to war with only the best training, leadership and equipment. We can’t shrink from our obligations to one another. The stakes are too high.”

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey

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DOD Budget Wars Begin

The Obama administration sent their pass back to DOD this past weekend and are waiting on the Department’s response. Initial reports put the DOD top line appropriation request at $527 Billion , an increase of $14 billion (+3%) over FY2009.

While this number is similar to the preliminary unscrubbed amount set by the outgoing Bush administration, some have labeled this a budget cut. The Joint Chiefs worked their internal “wish list” budget to over $580 billion for FY2010, and thus the lower administration number looks like a cut. The discussion lines have been set with some, including Robert Kagan noting the risks of a limited budget. Other commentators have observed that economic strains and Secretary Gates’ predilections may mean that the lower number is more realistic .

Additionally, it is unknown if the publicized DOD pass back includes military construction, which could lead to a larger appropriation not part of the current package. The increase in base budget (excluding MilCon) from FY09-FY10 could then well exceed $34 billion; still short of the Pentagon’s internal budget numbers, but large nonetheless.

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