"The situation in Yemen is a dangerous one, and the President and his national security team made a decision to relocate military personnel from Yemen for that reason," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
"There continues to be ongoing security cooperation between the United States and the national security infrastructure of the Hadi government (of Yemen). That will continue to be valuable coordination," he said.
"The United States continues to have assets and resources in the region that will allow us to take steps where necessary to continue to apply significant pressure to extremist targets and to keep the American people safe. But it is true that coordination would be more effective if there were US personnel in the country," he noted.
"That is why the United States will continue to support the broader international community, as we pressure both sides to try to resolve their differences politically and to promote the kind of dialogue that's necessary to stabilise the country, to stabilise the central government," he said.
Responding to questions, the spokesperson said Yemen also remains a dangerous country for terrorists as well. "It is true that US officials had to relocate from Yemen because it's a dangerous country. But I'll tell you that, as of today, Yemen remains a dangerous country for extremists as well," he said.
"The United States has demonstrated a capability to take extremists off the battlefield in Yemen when they pose a threat to the United States. Those efforts continue, and our capabilities to carry out those kinds of actions persist to this day as well," he added. "The case that we have made is that Yemen did serve as a template for the kind of strategy that we would employ and have employed to mitigate the threat from extremists around the world," he said.
In Yemen, the United States did, on occasion, take steps to remove some extremists from the battlefield. Those were steps that were carried out using US capabilities, but they were done in coordination with a central government and with national security forces inside that country, he said.
"Ultimately, our goal here is to build up the capacity of local countries so that they can assume responsibility for their own security situation, and that has both the effect of stabilising the country so that extremists can't use it as a safe haven to carry out -- to plot and carry out attacks against the West, but it also means that these -- that these countries can better provide for the security situation inside them, so they aren't vulnerable to extremist actions on their own," Earnest said.