Diplomatic security chief Gregory Starr says problems include improper blast walls and insufficient setback from public streets.
He and Bill Miller, the department's point-man for high-risk posts, are testifying before a Senate panel to defend a $2.2 billion request for embassy security funding in 2014.
They cited some progress worldwide, including approval for a new Beirut embassy after 30 years of effort.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee questioned part of the department's response to last year's deadly attack in Libya.
He challenged plans for a new security training center. And he expressed disappointment with the paid leave given to four employees faulted for wrongdoing on Benghazi.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.