State Department overhauls training and security for diplomats abroad

(CBS News) The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last fall has led to a sweeping security overhaul by the State Department, as the organization looks to combat increased risks worldwide. The Benghazi attack killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. In the last five years, there have been over 200 attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts abroad including two high profile incidents that occurred in 2013 -- asuicide bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey and the death of 25-year-old Anne Smedinghoff in an IED explosion in Afghanistan.

Mark Hipp, the Assistant Director for Training at the State Deparment, told CBS News' Margaret Brennan, "We're putting people out in harm's way in the farthest stretches of the earth. There are flashpoints everywhere today. It's not the cocktail circuits of the past. There's hardships, there's real danger out there and it's a moral obligation to ensure our people are prepared for those realities."

Newly implemented security measures at the State Department include the hiring of 150 additional diplomatic security agents, the posting of hundreds of Marine Guards at the most dangerous international missions and the creation of a new high-threat unit dedicated solely to those at-risk posts. Nine months ago, there were two posts considered "high threat" and today, there are over 20 within that category.

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Deputy Assistant Secretary for High-Threat Posts Bill Miller, is focused on preventing fire-related deaths like that of Ambassador Stevens, who died of smoke inhalation.

"Fire as a weapon is one of the recommendations that we've paid attention to," he told Brennan, "We've spent $13 million that we're pushing out overseas to make sure that our personnel have the personal protective equipment, the training, those resources at post to help fight the fires as well as survive fires."

Charles Hornbostel, a diplomat deploying to Afghanistan in July, is taking a new, required course on car bombs before his departure.

"It's always been dangerous work," Hornbostel said, "It's just more visible now. We are operating in some hard places but we have to be there, we have to get the job done. We have to get outside the wires, outside the confines of the compound, talk to people, do the job."

The course teaches Hornbostel and other diplomats skills including how to drive their way out of an emergency and what to do if your armored vehicle gets flipped over in a roadside explosion.

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