John O. Brennan said Wednesday military and intelligence operatives would exert "targeted, surgical pressure" on militant groups bent on attacking the United States, The New York Times reported.
Brennan outlined a counter-terrorism strategy in which al-Qaida would be hit "hard enough and often enough" with more Special Operations forces and rapid deployments of "unique assets," while underscoring military and intelligence personnel would work more closely than before.
"It will take time, but make no mistake, al-Qaida is in its decline," Brennan said in a speech at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.
The strategy has limitations, Brennan acknowledged, noting the collapsing government in Yemen and the tattered U.S. relationship with Pakistan.
He said the terrorist threat in the two countries was such that the United States had little choice but to provide aid and military support to help its counter-terrorism partners, the Times said.
While saying the United States must remain committed to Pakistan, Brennan added, "I'm hoping that the Pakistani people and the services are going to realize this really is a war."