Buried under news of the President Barack Obama’s press conference, the White House issued another important release today outlining the Obama administration’s counterterrorism strategy.
While the 16-page unclassified report doesn’t reveal any major strategic or policy changes, tt does emphasise a shift from large military engagements to a more targeted approach focused on dismantling Al Qaeda. It also stresses the need to prevent homegrown, or “lone wolf,” attacks inspired by Al Qaeda.
“Going forward, we will be mindful that if our nation is threatened, our best offence won’t always be deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us,” John Brennan, the president’s top counterterrorism advisor, said in a speech timed to coincide with today’s release.
“Just as our strategy is precise about who our enemy is, it is clear about our posture and our goal,” he said. “We seek nothing less than the utter destruction of this evil that calls itself al-Qaeda.”
Brennan’s remarks about U.S. precision are no doubt thinly-veiled references to the targeted killings and secret unmanned drone strikes that have become central to Obama’s counterterrorism approach. The strategy — and his comments — are further indication that the administration plans to increasingly rely on expanded special operations forces and covert drone strikes to go after the terrorist network.