Speaking to U.S. forces at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on 26 December 2018, President Donald J. Trump made clear that the U.S. defense budget for Fiscal Year 2020 — at least the Trump Administration’s budget request to Congress — will build on the Fiscal Year 2019 level.

Said the President:

“We have secured a record increase to our military budget, and we are purchasing all of this great equipment — $700 billion last year [2018]; $716 billion [2019] — with a ‘b,’ with a ‘b.’ We were fought very hard by the Democrats and others. But I said, ‘We have to take care of our military.’”

“I mean, I want to see costs come down, too. But not when it comes to our military. You have to have the finest equipment anywhere in the world, and you have that — $716 billion. And this year, again, we’re going to be — don’t tell anybody because nobody else knows — even a little bit higher.”

While this would seem to remove any question regarding a prospective cut in defense spending (to the ~$700 billion level) previously advanced, informed observers will stay tuned for what actually rolls out in the request in early February.