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More Budget Tidbits: The Pentagon’s forthcoming $533.7 billion budget request to Congress for Fiscal 2010, due next month, will fund increasing Army and Marine Corps end strength, giving service members a 2.9 percent pay raise, improving military housing and other defense facilities, and providing better medical treatment for wounded troops, OMB Director Peter Orszag told the House Budget Committee March 3 when testifying on the Administration’s overall spending plans. (Written testimony; see pages 14-15). At the same time, the defense budget will set realistic requirements and incorporate “best practices” to control cost growth and schedule slippage of weapons programs, he said. Orszag said the proposed topline, representing a four percent increase over this year’s enacted baseline budget level, will be sufficient to keep DOD strong as it enforces the new acquisition framework. One source of savings, he said, will be the removal of combat brigades from Iraq that will offset the increased cost of sending more troops to Afghanistan. The Administration estimates, he said, that the combined costs of Afghanistan and Iraq operations will decrease by about $50 billion in 2009 and $65 billion in 2010, compared to the 2008 level of $187 billion, adjusted for inflation. (AFPS report by Donna Miles)