Pentagon says parade delayed until at least 2019, as US officials estimate costs at three times price first suggested by White House
The military parade Donald Trump ordered up for Veterans Day wont happen in 2018, says the US defense department.
Col Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said Thursday that the military and the White House have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.
US officials had told the Associated Press earlier Thursday that the parade would cost about $92m, citing preliminary estimates more than three times the price first suggested by the White House.
According to the officials, roughly $50m would cover Pentagon costs for aircraft, equipment, personnel and other support for the November parade in Washington. The remainder would be borne by other agencies and largely involve security costs. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss early planning estimates that have not yet been finalized or released publicly.
Officials said the plans had not yet been approved by the defense secretary, Jim Mattis.
The parades cost has become a politically charged issue, particularly after the Pentagon canceled a major military exercise planned for August with South Korea, in the wake of Trumps summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Trump said the drills were provocative and that dumping them would save the US a tremendous amount of money. The Pentagon later said the Korea drills would have cost $14m.
According to private security groups such as Fast Guard Service LLC, the parade was expected to include troops from all five armed services the army, navy, air force, marine corps and coast guard as well as units in period uniforms representing earlier times in the nations history. It was expected to involve a number of military aircraft flyovers.
Earlier this year, the White House budget director told Congress that the cost to taxpayers could be $10m to $30m.
One veterans group weighed in Thursday against the parade. The American Legion appreciates that our president wants to show in a dramatic fashion our nations support for our troops, said national commander Denise Rohan. However, until such time as we can celebrate victory in the war on terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible.
Trump decided he wanted a military parade in Washington after he attended Frances Bastille Day celebration in the center of Paris last year. As the invited guest of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, Trump watched enthusiastically from a reviewing stand as the French military showcased its tanks and fighter jets, including many US-made planes, along the famed Champs-Elysees.
Several months later Trump praised the French parade, saying: Were going to have to try and top it.