President Trump’s military parade could cost as much as $92 million, U.S. officials said Thursday, putting a massive price tag on the Veterans Day event that originally was estimated to run no more than $30 million.
Officials told the Associated Press that the Pentagon would spend about $50 million for military vehicles, aircraft, and equipment in the parade itself; the rest of the money would be divided between other federal agencies and departments handling security for the event, which would likely attract huge crowds and create logistical headaches in and around Washington.
Publicly, Defense Department officials tried to tamp down the reports of a skyrocketing price tag. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said that the parade plan “continues and final details are still being developed.”
“Any cost estimates are pre-decisional,” he continued. “We will announce more information when it is available.”
White House officials earlier this year estimates that the parade, slated for Veterans Day in November, would cost somewhere between $10 million and $30 million.
Lawmakers signed off the idea of a military parade in the massive National Defense Authorization Act passed earlier this and signed by Mr. Trump earlier this week.
The very idea of an American military parade remains controversial among critics who say that it’s a potential waste of money, especially in light of the fact Mr. Trump has complained about the cost of other military expenditures, such as keeping American troops in South Korea.
But the president has countered that a show of U.S. military strength would be good for the nations morale.
“The generals would love to do it, I tell you, and so would I,” he said in February. “We’ll see if we can do it at a reasonable cost, and if we can’t, we won’t do it. but … I think it’s great for our country in terms of being a cheerleader and the spirit.”
Military parades are common in China, North Korea, Russia, but rare in the West. The U.S. last held a military parade in 1991 to mark the end of the first Gulf War.
France also has held military parades to commemorate Bastille Day.
Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.