WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department will have a smaller operation than the military in Iraq but the biggest run by the department in decades, officials say.
Plans include 16,000 employees, who will have to be housed, fed and guarded, three police training centers, a small airline and hospitals, The Washington Post reported. The U.S. military is supposed to be out of Iraq by the end of the year, although the two governments are trying to negotiate an agreement for a small training force.
For the State Department, Iraq will be its largest overseas effort since the years immediately after World War II, when it was in charge of the Marshall Plan, providing economic assistance in Europe.
In testimony before Congress this week, Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides said the department has budgeted $6 billion for Iraq next year. That is far less than the $50 billion the military is currently spending annually.
Nides said the department is working hard to be ready in time, although some jobs, like housing construction, may stretch into next year.
"We've spent too much money and lost too many kids' lives, not to do this thing right," he said.