President Obama said Thursday that his administration is quickly evolving to stop the "new phase" of terrorism threats against the United States, chiefly the risk of small but highly organized and motivated groups of radicalized people in America.

"We are in a new phase of terrorism, including lone actors and small groups of terrorists," Obama said at the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Virginia.

"Because they are smaller, often self-initiating, self-motivating, they're harder to detect, and that makes it harder to prevent," he said. "But just as the threat evolves, so do we. We're constantly adapting, constantly improving, upping our game, getting better."

The federal government has "gotten much better" at protecting against large-scale attacks such as the ones on Sept. 11, 2001, he added. Since that day, the U.S. has taken "extraordinary steps to strengthen our national security," he said. "We've gotten much better … our folks are the best" he told the audience of intelligence agency employees.

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