As he prepares to announce his quest for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, Gov. John Kasich is poised to call for a major increase in the size of the U.S. Navy, saying that the American fleet has “really eroded.”
Although Kasich has not said how many ships he wants to add, he has made clear his belief that the current Navy of 272 ships is not large enough to deter China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea, attack Islamic State militants in Iraq and maintain a strong presence in the Atlantic Ocean.
Earlier this month, Kasich convened a meeting at the governor’s residence of six national-security officials, including former White House national security adviser Richard Allen and John Lehman, secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration, who is a forceful advocate for building more warships.
“We once had a 600-ship navy, and it’s really eroded,” Kasich said this month in South Carolina. “And naval power is really important in the world, its ability to be mobile, to be able to go to places where it’s really important.”
Allen, who served under President Ronald Reagan, said the fleet’s current size is “grossly inadequate for our needs, especially when the United States needs to project power very quickly to virtually every point on the globe.”
“The current administration has failed miserably in understanding the strategic imperative of doing just that.”