The U.S. president said he has been steadily increasing military spending during his tenure in office, adding that he wouldn’t say how much the new budget calls for, but “it’s even more” than previous years.
During fiscal 2019, military spending was approved at $716 billion, up from nearly $700 billion in the year prior.
Under a budget deal announced on Monday, the military would get a 3 percent increase in funding for fiscal 2020 – which is equal to about $738 billion.
The president urged House Republicans to support the two-year budget agreement, hailing it as a victory for the military and veterans.
The president and congressional Republicans had originally sought $750 billion.
The funds are necessary, Trump said, because his administration has been “rebuilding” things previous presidents hadn’t “thought of,” in addition to adding the “greatest planes in the world, greatest missiles” and upgrading the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Trump also said he had confidence in Esper to prepare the military to deter conflict and defeat any foe.
During a speech on Tuesday, Trump mentioned that his administration was giving “record funding” to the U.S. military, as it renovated and ramped up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, aerospace and defense giant Boeing announced it would remove its bid for a contract with the Pentagon to revamp the country’s land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles. The company cited concerns about competitiveness within the race.
Esper was confirmed in a Senate vote on Tuesday, by a margin of 90-8. Among the people who voted against his nomination were a handful of Democratic 2020 hopefuls, including Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
A West Point graduate, Esper also served as an executive at Raytheon. He had previously held the role of Secretary of the Army under President Trump.