Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, spoke Wednesday at a National Press Club conference addressing counterinsurgency and said the overall effort against "transnational extremists" was "mildly positive."
He signaled out Saudi Arabia for a "very impressive whole-of-government's efforts to counter-terrorism."
"Whole-of-governments" is generally defined as agencies from across the governmental spectrum, not just one section such as the military, working in coordination on a problem.
"It really requires a whole-of-governments, counterinsurgency approach," Petraeus said. "That does not mean that we have to be the ones providing the forces or all the resources or anything else. It does mean that many different governmental agencies, civil-military partnerships, and, again, a comprehensive approach to these problems is the answer."
It had been reported that Petraeus's comments were an endorsement of the proposed Afghan war strategy of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a plan detailed in a memo given The Washington Post. But Petraeus explicitly said his statements weren't related to "pre-decisional details" about the circumstances in Afghanistan.
McChrystal is the commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan. There are about 62,000 U.S. troops in the country now with another 6,000 expected to be sent there by the end of the year. The eighth anniversary of the war, triggered by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, is Oct. 7.
McChrystal's document is under study by the White House. Petraeus said it was expected by the military that U.S. President Barack Obama would reassess strategies following events such as the Afghan election.