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Feb 2, 2010 12:19 PM by Associated Press

Gates pitches $768.2B defense budget to Congress

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is urging Congress to approve the Obama administration's $768.2 billion Pentagon budget request, saying America needs "a broad portfolio of military capabilities."

Gates joined Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in outlining fiscal 2011 budget proposals to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Gates said the United States must "prepare for a much broader range of security challenges on the horizon."

He said a continuing threat of terrorism from "nonstate groups," is among the challenges. And Gates added that such 21st century threats "transcend the familiar contingencies that dominated U.S. planning after the Cold War." He said the proposed budget justifiably exempts defense from spending freezes President Barack Obama is seeking for other government agencies and activities.

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