John Kasich on Homeland Security

Republican Governor; previously Representative (OH-12); 2000 & 2016 candidate for President


Prioritize nuclear agreements like START and INF

As a child of the Cold War, I remember well the schoolroom "duck and cover" exercises, an ever-present reminder of the risk of nuclear war. No threat holds greater consequences for all of humanity than that of the accidental or deliberate use of nuclear weapons. Containing that risk has to remain our top priority.

U.S.-Russian agreements such as the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) were designed to achieve greater stability and security when it comes to nuclear weapons, and that goal should not be abandoned lightly. With New START expiring in 2021 and the INF Treaty on the verge of being fatally undermined by Russia's noncompliance, we need to think long and hard about walking away from them. Unless we are convinced that they are unsalvageable, agreements that by and large have worked for the two states holding more than 90% of the world's nuclear weapons should not be allowed to fall apart.

Source: 2020 presidential hopeful Kasich column in Foreign Affairs , Jun 6, 2018

Improve veteran healthcare with more options & fewer delays

The same kinds of policies that John Kasich has deployed successfully in Ohio to support veterans will be a model for the veterans policies he pursues as president. A particular focus will be health care, where he supports improving the current system as well as giving veterans new flexibilities and options to eliminate delays for needed care.
Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, JohnKasich.com , Dec 27, 2017

Easier licensing for veterans; and more job services

Veterans have advanced training and experience in many of the skills that Ohio job creators are seeking. Reforms Gov. Kasich pursued in 2014 made it easier for veterans to transfer their skills to receive licensure credit so they can quickly begin applying their skills in good-paying jobs that support their families. Further, Ohio's state licensing boards and commissions have adopted consistent military definitions and made changes to their applications and policies to make certain that veterans and spouses are identified and prioritized.

Ohio created OhioMeansVeteranJobs.com--an online resource offering veterans a host of services to help them get a job. The website has a "military skills translator" that helps map military experience to job skills to build a resume from military service. For businesses looking for qualified workers, Ohio created the Veterans Business Support Center to assist employers in locating qualified veteran candidates for job openings.

Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, JohnKasich.com , Dec 27, 2017

Focused on excess spending on Armed Services Committee

[In 1983], my first committee assignment as a young congressman was on the House Armed Services Committee, where I quickly became immersed in some of the lingering cold war tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Perhaps the biggest headline I made on the House Armed Services Committee was my focus on excess spending. Like most Republicans, I'd always been strong on defense, but once in Congress, I started paying particular attention to some of the costs in our federal budget. The one didn't always go hand in hand with the other, I was realizing. However, this realization put me in conflict with some of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, who came to see me as a part of group they viewed as "cheap hawks." No matter where I saw wasteful spending, I believe it needed to be eliminated, even in our military, but Republicans weren't supposed to think in this way, so my position set some people off.

Source: Two Paths, by John Kasich, p. 98-99 , Apr 25, 2017

1980s: B-2 didn't make financial sense nor strategic sense

The B-2 was supposed to be an essential weapon in our Cold War arsenal. I didn't quite see it that way. I couldn't justify or even understand the projected long-term cost of a single plane (nearly $2 billion). It wasn't just that the program didn't make financial sense; it didn't make strategic sense, either. Why spend all that money for a bunch of planes capable of dropping multiple nuclear bombs over the Soviet Union when one bomb would certainly get the message across? It was the very definition of overkill.

We set about trying to pare back the B-2 proposal, and perhaps redirect some of those monies to the development of standoff weapons, which we believed would be more strategically effective as well as more cost-effective. We were never out to kill the proposal entirely; in response to an initial proposal of 132 bombers, we proposed a more modest plan of just 13. The projected squadron was cut to a final compromise of 20 B-2 bombers. So that's where we landed on this issue--an incredible win.

Source: Two Paths, by John Kasich, p.101-2 , Apr 25, 2017

Cutting Pentagon budget doesn't weaken defense

[In the 1980s when I sought to cut wasteful spending in the military], my thinking was this: Just because you're out to curb some of the ridiculous costs doesn't mean you're out to weaken the nation's defense. The Pentagon budget was bloated; yet only a few people were speaking out against it. The talk all over Washington was about the need for cuts in our social welfare and entitlement programs, while there was an unspoken agreement that we were not supposed to be critical of our defense spending.
Source: Two Paths, by John Kasich, p. 99 , Apr 25, 2017

$100B more to rebuild the military, with Pentagon reforms

KASICH: I would love to see regime change in North Korea. We have to be firm, and we've got to unite people in that part of the world to stand firmly against North Korea, and make sure we have the ballistic missile technology to defend ourselves.

TRUMP: We can no longer defend all of these countries, Japan, Germany, South Korea. You order televisions, you order almost anything, you're getting it from these countries. They are making a fortune. We defend all of these countries for peanuts. You talk about budgets. We have to start getting reimbursed for taking care of the military services for all of these countries.

KASICH: We're in agreement that the Japanese need to do more. We're in agreement that the Europeans need to do more. But, at the same time, we have to rebuild the military. I have a balanced budget plan that cuts taxes, reforms regulations, but also builds the military, puts a $100 billion dollars more in defense.

Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

No more Syrian refugees in Ohio or anywhere in USA

Gov. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, doesn't want Ohio or the United States to accept more Syrian refugees. Spokesman Jim Lynch says the Republican presidential candidate is writing to ask President Barack Obama to stop resettling Syrian refugees in Ohio because safety and security issues can't adequately be addressed. Kasich also is reviewing steps Ohio might take to stop resettlement.
Source: ABC News on Syrian Refugee Crisis , Nov 16, 2015

Expand voucher program for veterans' healthcare

Q: Dr. Ben Carson has called for essentially closing the VA and folding in most health care for veterans into the Pentagon. Do you think that plan would work? What would you do?

A: I first of all think that we need to expand the voucher program so a veteran can get the health care they need as soon as they can possibly get it and should not be just limited to the VA hospitals. Secondly, my sense is you're going to have to decentralize the VA.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 20, 2015

Iran nuke deal makes us stronger; we could restart sanctions

Q: What about the Iranian nuclear deal?

KASICH: Well, first of all, I think it's a bad agreement, I would never have done it. But, you know, a lot of our problems in the world today is that we don't have the relationship with our allies. If we want to go everywhere alone, we will not have the strength as much as if we could rebuild with our allies. Now, this agreement, we don't know what's going to happen in 18 months. I served on the Defense Committee for 18 years. And, if we find out that they may be developing a nuclear weapon, than the military option is on the table. We are stronger when we work with the Western civilization, our friends in Europe, and just doing it on our own I don't think is the right policy.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Make a coalition to fight ISIS in Syria

Q: There was another beheading at the hands of ISIS. If you were sitting in the Oval Office now, would you commit more ground troops to fight ISIS?

A: I would be working to get other countries to jump in and join us. I don't want to go alone. Let me tell you what I would do. Firstly, I would have supported the rebels in Syria that were in there to topple Assad. Secondly, I would have a coalition of other countries, including us, on the ground beginning to degrade and destroy ISIS, because, as you begin to do it, that whole caliphate beings to fall apart.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 16, 2015

Run drone program out of Pentagon, not the CIA

Q: Drones apparently killed two Westerners by mistake. Obama came out and admitted this was an error. What to do?

A: Well, I don't believe the drone program ought to be run out of the CIA. The CIA is an intelligence-gathering operation. The drone program should be operated exclusively out of the Pentagon. You know, the Air Force has the capability of doing extensive targeting. You don't have those capabilities in the CIA. And I have talked to former CIA people who have told me this.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 26, 2015

$1B per plane for B-2 is a colossal misuse of money

[In the 1980s], it was not good politics to go up against the pro-defense lobby, especially for a Republican. But I didn't think it was good government to keep signing up for these ridiculous expenditures. Most ridiculous of all, I came to think, was the development of the B-2 stealth bomber, which at the outset was presented as an essential weapon against the Soviets. I used to listen to the B-2 proponents, spinning all their tales of gloom and doom, and glory and might, and get the feeling I had steppe into some overproduced Cold War action movie. In any given year, the development of the B-2 was a small line item in the overall defense budget, but the long-term plans for the bomber would be realized at a staggering cost, over time. At anywhere from $1 billion to $2 billion per plane, it seemed a colossal misuse of taxpayer monies--and a misguided defense strategy, to boot--and I never understood why we needed to fly a plane inside the Soviet Union in the middle of a nuclear war. It made no sense.
Source: Stand For Something, by John Kasich, p. 92-94 , May 23, 2007

Cheap Hawk: Strong on defense; tight with a dollar

In the 1980s on the Defense Committee, in addition to the Russians, another enemy was the status quo. I may have been strong on defense, but at the same time I was openly critical of the excess spending in every aspect of the federal budget, which cast m as a kind of cheap hawk and served to essentially alienate me from everyone.

I was astonished to discover wasteful spending in the Pentagon budget; I was even more astonished that hardly anyone was speaking out against it. The mantra in Washington at that time was to trim the fat from our social welfare and entitlement programs. But to take the welfare out of the Pentagon? Well, to do so as a cheap hawk Republican, who walked the political tightrope of being strong on defense and tight with a dollar. One of my congressional colleagues even called me a traitor to our country, that's how out there my position seemed to be among the hawks in the Republican Party, but my feeling was that we needed to ferret out this waste no matter where we found it.

Source: Stand For Something, by John Kasich, p. 91-92 , May 10, 2006

Walked out when preacher opined against missiles in Europe

Today's preachers must be careful not to change platforms, and not to confuse their calling or the work of God with secular lawmaking.

I'll never forget sitting one Sunday morning in an Episcopal church, and for no good reason the minister started reading a letter from the bishops discussing why we shouldn't put missiles in Europe. I stood straight up and left. I thought, What do these bishops know about missiles in Europe? Fact is, it was those very missiles in Europe that bolstered the historic negotiations that ultimately led to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, but I didn't walk out because the politics was all wrong. I walked out because right or wrong, it had no place in the church.

Source: Stand For Something, by John Kasich, p.165-166 , May 10, 2006

Fire professor who said 9-11 victims brought on attack

Ward Churchill was a tenured professor at the University of Colorado. In a 2001 essay on the Sept. 11 attack, he called workers at the World Trade Center "little Eichmanns" and suggested that they might have in some way brought the attack upon themselves When the dust settled, Churchill ended up resigning his post as department chair but he stayed on as a tenured professor.

My own take was that he should have been fired, despite his tenure, because his freedom of speech should not extend to scurrilous remarks that defile the memories of thousands of innocent men and women who died in those buildings. His comments, which he later claimed were intended as provocative, hit so many hateful, hurtful notes. Certainly, his speech should be protected, but tha protection should not extend to his job, because with his comments he discredited himself and his university. A public institution like the University of Colorado should not be in the business of underwriting such invective with taxpayer monies.

Source: Stand For Something, by John Kasich, p.182-183 , May 10, 2006

Limit federal agencies investigating suspected terrorists

Source: Congressional 1996 National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1996

Limited military use, only under US command

Kasich believes that America’s fighting men and women should serve abroad only when under the command of the US military and [should not fight] if America’s national security is not directly at risk. “The US can and should remain strongly engaged internationally, because regional instability will not solve itself. But we must choose our tools very carefully, for the stakes do not allow failure. Power is a finite quantity; if we expend it all over the world, we diminish ourselves.”
Source: www.k2k.org “On The Issues” 5/27/99 , May 27, 1999

Voted YES on deploying SDI.

Vote to declare it to be the policy of the United States to deploy a national missile defense.
Reference: Bill introduced by Weldon, R-PA; Bill HR 4 ; vote number 1999-4 on Mar 18, 1999

No US troops under UN command; more defense spending.

Kasich signed the Contract with America:

[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:

The National Security Restoration Act:
No US troops under UN command, and restoration of the essential parts of our national security funding to strengthen our national defense and maintain our credibility around the world.
Source: Contract with America 93-CWA8 on Sep 27, 1994

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Page last updated: Dec 15, 2019