President Obama explained Thursday that the terrorist threats currently faced by the United States bear a closer resemblance to the attacks sustained at the end of the twentieth century than the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The president cited the Boston bombing and the Fort Hood shooting among other other examples of the contemporary danger.

“The scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11,” Obama told the National Defense University Thursday, recalling the Lockerbie bombing and other attacks in the 1980s and 1990s. “We learned that left unchecked, these threats can grow. But if dealt with smartly and proportionally, these threats need not rise to the level that we saw on the eve of 9/11.”

Noting that most terror threats arise from an ideology deriving from Islam and the United States being at war, Obama suggested that “our response to terrorism can’t defend on military or law enforcement alone,” saying that “we need all elements of national power to win a battle of wills, a battle of ideas.”