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ARLINGTON, Va. — President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal 2010 budget calls for a 2.9 percent pay increase for servicemembers, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

That compares with a 3.9 percent pay increase for this fiscal year.

This fiscal year’s budget initially called for a 3.4 percent pay raise, but Congress increased that amount during budget negotiations. Lawmakers also increased the fiscal 2008 pay raise from 3 percent to 3.5 percent.

All told, the Defense Department has asked for $533.7 billion for fiscal 2010 along with $130 billion to fund operations overseas, according to the budget outline released Thursday by the Office of Management and Budget.

The budget also calls for funding to help the Army and Marine Corps complete their growth to 547,000 and 202,000 respectively by the end of 2009, the outline said.

The Pentagon has also asked for $75.5 billion to fund operations for the remainder of this fiscal year, OMB wrote.

See budget on page 9For fiscals 2011 and beyond, OMB is estimating $50 billion to fund operations overseas.

“These estimates do not reflect any policy decisions about specific military or intelligence operations,” the outline said.

The outline also lays out the Defense Department’s plans for helping wounded warriors, including:

Establishing a registry to track those suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury and track their recovery.

Completing additional Army wounded warrior complexes in the United States and Germany.

Working with the VA to expand pilot programs meant to accelerate the Disability Evaluation System process.

The fiscal 2010 budget moves some funding for medical services, security assistance to foreign governments and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and other expenses from supplementals to the base budget, the outline said.

Democratic lawmakers and Republican critics of President George W. Bush for years have decried the supplemental budgets used to fund Iraq and Afghanistan operations.

“For too long, our budget has not told the whole truth about how precious tax dollars are spent,” Obama said Thursday. “Large sums have been left off the books, including the true cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“And that kind of dishonest accounting is not how you run your family budgets at home; it’s not how your government should run its budgets, either,” he said.

Obama has vowed to trim wasteful defense spending as part of his efforts to balance the budget.

In a speech Tuesday to Congress, Obama included a handful of sentences on the military which could signal dramatic changes from the defense budgets and policies of the last administration.

Among them were already public plans to close the prison facilities at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, a review of Iraq policy for ways to “responsibly end this war,” and a pledge not to use supplemental defense budgets to fund overseas combat operations.

Pentagon leaders have been predicting a tightening defense budget but have also publicly stated that personnel funds likely would be exempt from any cuts.

Obama has promised to protect veterans’ health care and programs, calling them benefits “that they have earned.”

But the president has also pledged to end “Cold War-era weapons systems we don’t use” as targets for defense cuts.

And he added that he will make sure those cutbacks will not jeopardize national security.

“I will not allow terrorists to plot against the American people from safe havens halfway around the world,” he said. “We will not allow it.”

Read the budget outline here.


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