The Pentagon budget will reach a record $708 billion in fiscal 2011, according to draft documents obtained by Reuters, with much of the increase earmarked for personnel and health care costs. Still, defense contractors are heartened by a pledge by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to pursue "steady, consistent growth in defense budgets," evening out the boom-and-bust extremes that have long plagued the industry. "We're optimistic that the fiscal 2011 defense budget, including procurement, is going to be consistent with the level of recent years. The nation has obligations across the globe that we simply can't shirk from," says AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey.
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