WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A military parade requested by U.S. President Donald Trump could cost more than $90 million, a U.S. official said, citing provisional planning figures, nearly three times an earlier White House estimate.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the cost estimate of about $92 million had not yet been approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and could still be changed and more options could be included. The parade is expected to take place in November
In February, Trump asked the Pentagon to explore a parade in celebration of American troops, after the Republican president marveled at the Bastille Day military parade he attended in Paris last year.
Earlier this year, the White House budget chief said the parade would cost U.S. taxpayers between $10 million and $30 million.
It was not immediately clear why the recent cost estimate was so much higher than the earlier one, and what exactly it included.
A Pentagon memo from March said the parade route would have a “heavy air component at the end of the parade.”
“Include wheeled vehicles only, no tanks – consideration must be given to minimize damage to local infrastructure,” the memo said
It added that the event would focus on the contributions of the U.S. military throughout history, starting from the American Revolutionary War.
Critics have ridiculed the idea of a costly display of troops and weapons at a time when the Pentagon is struggling to cover the expenses of training, support and personnel.
The District of Columbia Council had ridiculed the idea of a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue, the 1.2-mile (1.9-km) stretch between the Capitol and the White House that is also the site of the Trump International Hotel.
Military parades in the United States are generally rare. Such parades in other countries are usually staged to celebrate victories in battle or showcase military might.
In 1991, tanks and thousands of troops paraded through Washington to celebrate the ousting of President Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces from Kuwait in the Gulf War.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Alistair Bell)