Pentagon: No Funding Yet for Trump's Big Military Parade

President Donald J. Trump, right, salutes Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, during his visit aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), Caribbean Sea, Oct. 3, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Alexis C. Schneider)
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If it happens, the big military parade wanted by President Donald Trump would probably occur this coming Veterans Day, Nov. 11, in Washington, D.C., but the Pentagon said Monday that funding for the event could be a problem.

"When we talk about the options -- the composition, the theme, the date, the location, the associated costs -- all those are being looked at as part of the options that are being created" for the parade, said Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman.

"The funding stream is a line that they [parade planners] would have to provide details on," Manning said at a Pentagon briefing.

No funding for a parade was allocated in either the Fiscal Year 2018 or 2019 Defense Department budgets, but the White House appeared intent on going ahead.

Manning said DoD has already received guidance on parade planning from Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the White House National Security Adviser, and the Army has been designated as the lead service for making the arrangements.

The last major parade in Washington to honor returning service members from the Gulf War in the 1990s cost about $12 million. The cost of a parade today has been estimated at anywhere from $10-30 million.

Over the weekend, Trump told Fox News that "we'll see if we can do it at a reasonable cost, and if we can't, we won't do it. But the generals would love to do it, I can tell you, and so would I."

Manning said he didn't know who the generals were that Trump cited.

"I don't know what specific generals told him that," Manning said, "but again, the president directed the parade to show his appreciation for the military and to honor service members."

Earlier this month at a White House briefing, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis endorsed the idea of holding a parade to honor service members.

"I think we're all aware in this country of the president's affection and respect for the military. We've been putting together some options. We'll send them up to the White House for decision," Mattis said.

Trump reportedly began thinking of a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and past the White House last July on a trip to Paris, where he and First Lady Melania Trump attended the annual Bastille Day parade including military vehicles and flyovers.

The plan for a parade has drawn criticism from Democrats, and an informal poll conducted by Military Times earlier this month showed overwhelming opposition to the idea.

Of more than 51,000 readers who responded, 89 percent said "No, It's a waste of money and troops are too busy."

The other 11 percent responded "Yes, it's a great opportunity to show off U.S. military might," according to Military Times.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.