WASHINGTON – The Defense Ministry said Thursday that the Veterans Day of the military parade ordered by President Donald Trump will not happen in 2018.
Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said the military and the White House “have now agreed to have the capability in 2019.”
The announcement came a few hours after the reports that the parade would cost about $92 million, according to the officials of the V. S. citing preliminary estimates, more than three times the first price proposed by the White House.
According to the officials, approximately $50 million would cover the Pentagon’s costs for aircraft, equipment, personnel and other support for the November parade in Washington. The rest would be borne by other agencies, and largely involve expenses. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss early planning estimates that have not yet been finalised or released in the public. The estimate was first reported by CNBC.
Officials said that the plans have not yet been approved by the Minister of Defense of Jim Mattis.
Mattis himself said late Thursday that he had seen no such estimate and questioned the messages in the media.
The Pentagon chief told reporters traveling with him to Bogota, Colombia, that whoever leaked the song of the press “is probably smoking something that is legal in my state, but not in the most” — a reference to his home state of Washington, where marijuana use is legal.
He added: “I’m not dignifying that number ($92 million) with an answer. I would discount someone who said (that number), I will almost guarantee you one thing: They probably said, ” I must remain anonymous.’ No kidding, because you look like an idiot. And Number 2, who wrote it needs to get better sources. I will leave it at that.”
The parade in the costs, which was confirmed by multiple officials, 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 Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Trump said the exercises were provocative and that dumping them would save the U.S. “a huge amount of money.” The Pentagon later said the Korea drilling would cost $14 million.
Lt.-Col. Jamie Davis, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said earlier Thursday that the Ministry of Defence of the planning for the parade ” continues, and the final details are still being developed. Any cost estimates are pre-decisional.”
The parade was expected to use the troops from all five of the army — the Army, Navy, air force, Navy, and coast guard as well as units in the period uniforms represent earlier times in american history. It was also expected that the involvement of a number of military aircraft flyovers.
A Pentagon planning memo released in March said the parade would feature a “heavy air component, probably including the older, vintage aircraft. He also said that there would be “wheeled vehicles only, no tanks — consideration must be given to minimizing damage to the local infrastructure.” Large, heavy tanks could tear up the streets in the District of Columbia.
The memo of Mattis’ office provided that the original planning for the guidance of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His staff is the planning of the parade along a route from the White House, the Capitol, and would integrate with the city’s annual veterans parade. U.S. Northern Command, which oversees AMERICAN forces in North America, is responsible for the actual execution of the parade.
Earlier this year, the White House budget director told Congress that the cost to the taxpayer can be $10 million to $30 million. These estimates are likely based on the costs of previous military parades, such as in the capital of the country in 1991, celebrating the end of the first gulf war, and processed in a number of additional increase of the inflation.
A group of veterans weighed Thursday at the parade. “The American Legion appreciates that our President wants to show in a dramatic fashion to our nation’s support for our troops,” National Commander, Denise Rohan said. But, she added, “we think that 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 that he wanted a military parade in Washington, after he visited France, Bastille Day celebration in Paris last year. As the invited guest of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, Trump saw excited by an assessment of the state of the French military on display are tanks and fighter jets, including a lot of AMERICAN planes, along the famous Champs-Elysees.
A few months later, Trump praised the French parade, saying: “We must try to get to the top.”
AP National Security Writer Robert Burns contributed to this report from Bogota, Colombia.