By ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN, abc news
Between 5,000 to 7,000 service members could march in President Donald Trump’s military parade, according to a U.S. defense official familiar with parade planning documents.
The figures are according to a presentation briefed to local Department of Defense leadership earlier this month on the progress of the planning, said the official who was not present for that briefing.
ABC News has not viewed a copy of the plan.
About 50 DoD personnel in the DC area are now supporting the planning of the parade, scheduled for Saturday, November 10. That number is expected to grow to 100 by the Labor Day holiday, and then to about 3,000 the week of the parade, the official said.
Those contributing to the parade’s planning efforts are a mix of civilian and military employees. Some of the nearly 3,000 individuals who will likely support those efforts during the week of the parade will be security personnel.
In addition to the 5,000 to 7,000 individuals who could be marching, the parade, which is slated to begin at the U.S. Capitol and end at the White House, is currently planned feature about 100 vehicles, 50 aircraft, and 100 horses, the official said.
A March memo from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said no tanks would be used in the parade, only wheeled vehicles in order to “minimize damage to local infrastructure.” There was also a request to “include a heavy air component at the end of the parade, to include older aircraft as available.”
The official confirmed that the latest planning presentation included a mix of current and vintage aircraft.
A spokesman for U.S. Northern Command did not confirm the exact numbers of U.S. personnel who could march in the parade but told ABC News that “several thousand” are anticipated to participate.
“It is anticipated that several thousand Armed Forces personnel will participate in the parade, as well as provide ceremonial support including musical units, marching bands, and color guards, to render appropriate ceremonial honors to our Nation’s military members, Veterans and their Families,” a spokesman for U.S. Northern Command told ABC News in a statement. “The parade will honor the contributions of veterans, the current force, and the future force. More details and specifics about the Veterans Day Military Parade will be announced at a later date.”
A $12 million cost estimate
Earlier this week, a separate U.S. defense official confirmed to ABC News that the parade was estimated to cost about $12 million. That number is a preliminary estimate, ultimately dependent on the actual size and scope of the parade. In February, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told the House Budget Committee that the cost could range between $10 and $30 million.
In comparison, the cost of the suspended U.S. and South Korean military exercises that were scheduled to take place in August was $14 million. Trump said after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that those “war games” were “provocative” and “very expensive.”
Trump first mentioned the idea of a grand parade after attending France’s Bastille Day parade last summer. Then, in February, he asked the Pentagon to begin planning for such a parade to take place in the U.S.
The date of November 10 is one day before Veteran’s Day, that will also coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
“The intent for the parade is to be in conjunction with that celebration, so that will be the theme, the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on November 11,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters earlier this month.