WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's military parade — postponed after this article was originally published — is shaping up to cost $80 million more than initially estimated.
The Department of Defense and its interagency partners have updated their prospective cost estimates for the parade, according to a U.S. defense official with firsthand knowledge of the assessment. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The parade, originally slated for Nov. 10 but now potentially set for 2019, is estimated to cost $92 million, the official said. The figure consists of $50 million from the Pentagon and $42 million from interagency partners such as the Department of Homeland Security. An initial estimate last month pegged the prospective cost for the parade at $12 million.
A Pentagon spokesman said in an email to CNBC that the Defense Department expects to make an announcement soon, but he would not comment further. The White House referred questions to the Defense Department.
The $92 million cost estimate includes security, transportation of parade assets, aircraft, as well as temporary duty for troops. The official also noted that while the size and scope of the military parade can still shift, the plans currently include approximately eight tanks, as well as other armored vehicles, including Bradleys, Strykers and M113s.
The official also said that experts put to rest concerns about whether the Abrams tank, which weighs just shy of 70 tons, would ruin infrastructure in Washington. Their analysis found that, because of the vehicle's distributed weight and track pads, the streets of the nation's capital would not be compromised.
The parade is also expected to include helicopter, fighter jet, transport aircraft as well as historical military plane flyovers. Troops in period uniforms representing the past, present and future forces will march in the parade, as well.
Inspiration from France
The ceremony is said to be largely inspired by Trump's front-row seat at France's Bastille Day military parade in Paris.
In September, Trump met with French President Emmanuel Macron and recalled how much he enjoyed watching the parade. "It was a tremendous day, and to a large extent because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4 in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue," Trump said.
"We're going to have to try to top it, but we have a lot of planes going over and a lot of military might, and it was really a beautiful thing to see, and representatives from different wars and different uniforms," he added.
The U.S. has not held a major military parade in Washington since 1991 to mark the end of Operation Desert Storm. That parade reportedly cost approximately $8 million and was paid for with about $3 million in government funds and the rest with private donations.
The $92 million figure dwarfs the $12 million estimate that was first reported by CNN last month. As noted at the time, the military parade was expected to cost as much as the "tremendously expensive" bilateral military exercise that Trump swiftly canceled with South Korea in the wake of the historic Singapore summit.
"We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith — which both sides are!" Trump tweeted after meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
After meeting with the reclusive leader from the North to negotiate a nuclear deal, Trump said: "I think it's inappropriate to be having war games. No. 1, we save money. A lot. And No. 2, it really is something that I think they [North Korea] very much appreciated." Trump also said that flying U.S. Air Force bombers in regional training missions is another drain on resources.
Trump's move falls out of step with the Pentagon, which has maintained that the joint exercises are routine, purely defensive and vital to maintaining readiness on the Korean Peninsula.
There are currently 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the Korean War, which ended in 1953 in an armistice that left the two Koreas technically still at war.