WASHINGTON - The White House has released a new National Strategy for counterterrorism that focuses on defeating al Qaeda through precision strikes and raids, rather than large land wars. Al Qaeda seeks to bleed us financially by drawing us into long, costly wars that also inflame anti-American sentiment, John Brennan, President Barack Obamas counterterrorism advisor, said in a speech Wednesday unveiling the new strategy. Going forward, we will be mindful that if our nation is threatened, our best offence wont always be deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us. Brennan, a longtime former CIA officer, spoke at the Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, as the White House made public the new strategy on its website. He identified the groups Yemeni affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, as the most operationally active and described al Qaedas central headquarters, in Pakistan, as still dangerous but severely damaged. Brennan acknowledged that the US relationship with Pakistan is not without tension or frustration but said that continued cooperation is essential. As frustrating as this relationship can sometimes be, he said, Pakistan has been critical to many of our most significant successes against al Qaeda. Tens of thousands of Pakistanis military and civilian have given their lives in the fight against militancy. And despite recent tensions, I am confident that Pakistan will remain one of our most important counterterrorism partners. Although he said that the United States must remain committed to Pakistan, Brennan voiced exasperation at one point, saying: Im hoping that the Pakistani people and the services are going to realise this really is a war. Defeating al Qaeda, Brennan said, does not require a 'global war but rather a focus on specific regions, including Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and North Africa, in addition to Pakistan. President Obamas approach to counterterrorism is pragmatic, not ideological, he said, and reflects an evolution in our understanding of the threat, in the capabilities of our government, the capacity of our partners, and the tools and technologies at our disposal. OSAMA He revealed new details about Osama bin Laden and how the al Qaeda leader had spent the last six years of his life in a residential compound in Pakistan before being killed by US commandos last month. He practised absolutely phenomenal operational security, Brennan said. To our knowledge, he never left that compound once he got there. Of the [other] people there, most never left either, Brennan said. We dont know how many people in al Qaedas senior leadership knew where bin Laden was ... He was confident and relaxed. We think he was totally taken by surprise. Brennan echoed other senior US officials in saying that the Pakistani leadership military, political, intelligence was caught totally unawares by the fact that bin Laden was found in a compound in Abbottabad. Information seized from that compound reveals bin Ladens concerns about al Qaedas long-term viability, Brennan said. He worried that our recent focus on al Qaeda as our enemy had prevented more Muslims from rallying to his cause, so much so that he even considered changing al Qaedas name ... We are left with that final image seen around the world an old terrorist, alone, hunched over in a blanket, flipping through old videos of a man and a movement that history is leaving behind. Brennan said the recently announced troop reduction in Afghanistan would have no impact on US counterterrorism strategy in that country and Pakistan, where, he said, the US has been delivering precise and overwhelming force against militants. Analysts noted that Brennan did not explicitly mention the vast expansion of drone strikes the US has undertaken in Pakistan since January 2009 213 of them, according to the New America Foundation, which counts them through media reports. Later, when asked whether a policy of targeted killing was appropriate for the United States, Brennan responded that the US is exceptionally precise and surgical in terms of addressing the terrorist threat. And by that I mean, if there are terrorists who are within an area where there are women and children or others, you know, we do not take such action that might put those innocent men, women and children in danger. He claimed that in the last year, there hasnt been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities that weve been able to develop. Agencies add: The outgoing Defence Secretary Robert Gates told Reuters that Washington continued to pay for historical mistakes with Pakistan, such as the decision to walk away from the region after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and imposing sanctions on Pakistan in response to its nuclear ambitions. While Gates said the Obama administration had bent over backward to improve ties with Pakistan, the relationship remains tense. Islamabad has terminated a US military training mission there. We all wish it were in a better place, but on the same token this relationship has ebbed and flowed for decades, Gates said. Gates, who steps down on Thursday after four and a half years as defence chief, said President Obamas plan for pulling US troops from Afghanistan will intensify risks in the thick of next years fighting season, but Obama was right to factor in waning support at home for the war. He said Obamas advisers had put forward different options for gradually shrinking the 100,000-strong US force in Afghanistan, where after almost a decade of war the Taliban remains a deadly, resilient enemy. While the Pentagons top brass argued for keeping the extra 33,000 troops Obama sent to Afghanistan until the end of 2012, Gates said, other advisers wanted them out as early as April, as patience wears thin for a war that now costs more than $110 billion a year. The president had a real tight-wire to walk in terms of balancing military risk and political risk, Gates said in an interview on the eve of his departure from the Pentagon. It wouldnt make any difference if the president said keep them there another two years if the Congress wouldnt vote the money ... Even some Republicans are beginning to talk about coming out sooner, Gates said. He said military spending is not the cause of the $1.4 trillion US budget deficit, and even a disastrous 10 percent cut would only reduce the budget shortfall by some $50 billion about 4 percent.