A military parade would be a costly, logistical nightmare

Matt Saintsing
February 07, 2018 - 11:57 am

Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Hailey D. Clay


President George H.W. Bush stood tall next to Gen. Norman Schwarzkoph Jr. to watch the National Victory Parade on June 8, 1991, as 8,800 U.S. troops were proudly on display along with some of the heavy equipment that helped the United States win the Persian Gulf War.

That’s the last time the United States held a military parade like the one President Donald Trump wants.

As 200,000 people filled the streets, it was considered the biggest military celebration since the end of World War II.

But now, as President Donald Trump has tasked the Pentagon to execute a military parade, first reported by the Washington Post, military planners are likely facing a complete logistics nightmare along with lavish costs.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement "President Trump is incredibly supportive of America's great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe.”

“He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”

Meticulous decision-making will involve which units to showcase, what type of equipment will be rolling down Pennsylvania Ave and flying in the skies above, and even what uniforms they’ll be wearing—all while supporting current military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, just to name a few.

Moreover, Washington isn’t a town readily conducive to this type of military influx. Streetlights would have to be removed, and the 62-metric ton tanks would penetrate into the pavement.

The pageantry in 1991 saw Patriot missiles, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, M1-A1 Abrams tanks, rolling downtown D.C., and four F-117 stealth fighters conducted flyovers.

Another hurdle is the cost.

The 1991 parade cost a total of 12 million; adjusted for inflation that would be about $22 million today.  

 The high-cost, and logistics nightmare, has caused some on Capitol Hill to pause. Speaking with CNN’s Don Lemon, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) said “cost would be a factor.”

Zeldin, a U.S. Army veteran and major with the Army reserves, said he’s primarily concerned with the lack of a long-term plan to fund the Defense Department.

“We need to fund the entire military for the rest of the year,” he said. “The continuing resolutions are absolutely not the way to go, especially as it related to funding the Department of Defense.”

Many top Republicans, including chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain, are desperately seeking a long-term funding package for the military amongst the political fighting over stop-gap measures that critics say have caused a detriment to military readiness.

Other lawmakers took a harsher stance. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called the idea a “fantastic waste of money to amuse the president."

"Take the money that the president would like to spend on this parade [and> instead, let’s make sure our troops are ready for battle and survive it and come home to their families," Durbin, the Democratic minority whip, said on MSNBC Wednesday morning.