The military parade Trump wants could cost millions -- and the cash-strapped military doesn't know how they will pay for it

  • President Donald Trump has said that he wants a grand military parade to show support for the military.
  • A potentially big issue is the funding for the parade, which would presumably involve thousands of soldiers and hundreds of armoured vehicles.
  • The last military parade in 1991 cost $US12 million, $US3 million of which was paid by the government.

President Donald Trump is pushing for a grand military parade, which is confirmed to be in the early stages of planning.

“President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Wednesday. “He has asked the Department of Defence to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”

There may be a number of problems with a modern military parade, with the cost being potentially the biggest holdup. Not surprisingly, military parades do not come cheap.

Most of the cost will be on transporting military equipment, especially armoured vehicles like tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

The last US military parade was in 1991 under George HW Bush, and celebrated the victory over Iraq and the liberation of Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.

The 1991 parade – with thousands of soldiers who fought in the war march alongside armoured vehicles and a flyover of around 100 aircraft – cost about $US12 million.

A little less than half – $US3 million – of the cost was paid by the government, with the rest coming from private donations. But more than twenty years later, the cost for a similar parade are expected to be higher.

The plans for the parade come as the Trump administration is trying to modernise and build up the US military. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis recently said that he wants to recruit an additional 15,000 soldiers for the Army.

Funds for a parade could drain resources that could have otherwise been allocated for the military’s other needs. The Washington Post reported that military officials were “unclear” as to where the funding for the parade would come from.

“Given budget realities, the opportunity cost of a parade is too high to justify,” Edward King, the president and founder of the conservative think tank Defence Priorities, told CNBC.

“Maths still applies to superpowers, so our $US20 trillion of debt poses a serious threat to our national security.”

Mattis spoke at the White House on Wednesday, stressing the military need for a stable budget.

“A parade as discussed would probably cost millions to arrange, destroy DC’s streets that aren’t prepared for such hardware, and take away actual training time,” Defence News Senior Pentagon Correspondent Aaron Mehta tweeted. “Today SecDef Mattis went to Congress and begged for a budget because he doesn’t have money for vital training.”

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