Pentagon moving forward on plans for Trump military parade: report

Pentagon moving forward on plans for Trump military parade: report
© Greg Nash

The Pentagon is moving forward on President TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE’s orders to hold a military parade, recommending a route along Pennsylvania Ave. and setting a new date after months of inactivity, NBC News reported Thursday.

The parade, moved up a day from Nov. 11 to Nov. 10, would begin at the Capitol, pass the White House and end at the National Mall, officials told NBC.

A Joint Chiefs of Staff team is now drafting a planning order for U.S. Northern Command, which will organize the details using the U.S. Military District of Washington.

The Army command is in charge of major occurrences including state funerals for former presidents and inaugurations, and will be the lead in carrying out the event.  

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The parade is still in the beginning planning stages but no budget is set as there is reportedly little desire for the event outside the White House.

“There is only one person who wants this parade,” a senior U.S. official told NBC.

The Pentagon confirmed in February that Trump had directed defense officials to begin planning a military parade. Trump was reportedly inspired to create an event similar to the Bastille Day parade he saw when he visited France.

“We're going to have to try to top it,” he told French President Emmanuel Macron.

In March, the Defense Department released a memo saying the parade would be held Nov. 11, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

The memo outlines a parade from the White House to the Capitol, meant to highlight contributions of veterans throughout U.S. history and to include veterans wearing period uniforms.

The document stipulates that only wheeled vehicles are to be used, no tanks as they could damage streets, as well as current and vintage aircraft.

Since that memo there has been with no real movement on the parade until this week. A senior defense official told NBC there are more pressing issues.

A Military Times poll found in February that 89 percent of its readers, who are primarily service members and their families, opposed the parade, saying it would be a “waste of money.”

Even some White House officials are uninterested in the event and are stalling on planning, said a senior administration official.

One major question that remains is how much the parade will cost and who will foot the bill. Officials have estimated could cost between $10 million and $30 million.

The U.S. Military District of Washington is typically reimbursed by the Pentagon for events, but no dollars have been set aside for the parade.

The Defense Department may use its training budget to pay for flyovers and use vehicles from nearby bases, but the event would also involve outside costs including pay for Secret Service and police, and the renting and construction of stands and barriers.

“The Department of Defense will provide options to the White House for a decision,” a National Security Council spokesperson told NBC.

Several Democrat lawmakers have spoken out against the parade, most notably Senate minority whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court MORE (D-Ill.) who called it a “fantastic waste of money to amuse the president.”

“Take the money that the president would like to spend on this parade, instead, let’s make sure our troops are ready for battle and survive it and come home to their families," Durbin said on MSNBC in February.

Others have publically supported it, but were careful with their language.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) supported the event in February but said it should not be treated as a "Soviet-style" display of military might.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) in May included language in the annual defense policy bill approving of the parade because he “agrees with President Trump that it is appropriate to honor and celebrate 100 years of patriotic sacrifice in a way that expresses appreciation and admiration for our men and women in uniform, including a parade in the nation’s capital and a national celebration for that purpose.”