The Pentagon is moving to prepare options for President Trump’s desired military parade, but it’s still not clear when, where or if it will ever happen.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that, during a Jan. 18 meeting at the Pentagon, Trump requested options for an elaborate parade. The request came after Trump publicly and privately expressed admiration for a parade along the lines of France’s Bastille Day celebration, in which French troops march down the renowned Avenue des Champs-Elysees accompanied by tanks, personnel carriers and other armored vehicles.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis acknowledged Wednesday that the Pentagon is drawing up options, linking the request to Trump’s affection for the military. But Pentagon officials have been hesitant to say much else, and various critics have suggested that it’s a bad idea. They include Navy SEAL veteran Robert O’Neill, who is credited with killing Osama bin Laden and is friendly with the president.
O’Neill tweeted Thursday that a “military parade is third world bulls—” that is out of place here.
How large could the parade be?
The U.S. military regularly participates in parades and other public events all over the country, sometimes at great expense. But a point of friction with Trump’s idea is that it must be like France’s national parade, or even larger.
The United States has not staged anything comparable since 1991, when President George H.W. Bush presided over a national celebration of victory in the Persian Gulf War. About 8,800 U.S. troops marched, tanks and other armored vehicles rolled through Washington, and numerous aircraft flew overhead. It cost between $8 million and $12 million, according media reports at the time.If the Pentagon carries out something comparable now, it would come at a time when Mattis and senior U.S. military officers regularly decry the disrepair that some military equipment is in after more than 16 years of war. But the military could conceivably offer options to the White House that are less extravagant, but still viewed as patriotic and impressive.