Among the problems Sullivan's panel identified in the report:
- The State Department's management of its security structure has led to blurred authority and a serious lack of accountability. The undersecretary for management oversees security issues while also handling many other responsibilities. A newly created undersecretary for diplomatic security would allow the State Department to better focus on security issues affecting diplomatic posts around the world, according to the report. Left unaddressed, the control problem "could contribute to future security management failures, such as those that occurred in Benghazi."
- The Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the State Department security arm created following the 1983 bombings of the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut, does not have a review process in place to learn from previous security failures. Inexplicably, Diplomatic Security officials never conducted what is known as a "hot wash" debriefing of Benghazi survivors to learn from their experience.
- No risk management model exists to determine whether high-threat posts, such as the one in Benghazi, are necessary given the danger to U.S. officials. Risk decisions are made based on "experience and intuition," not established professional guidelines.
- None of the five high-risk diplomatic facilities the panel visited in the Middle East and Africa had an intelligence analyst on staff, described as a "critical" need.
- Diplomatic security training is inadequate, with no designated facility available to train agents to work at high-risk diplomatic posts.
- Even low-risk diplomatic posts are vulnerable. The Obama administration, concerned about potential attacks, ordered the closure of diplomatic posts in the Middle East and North Africa in August 2013. Of the 19 posts closed, only four were designated as high threat.