Jack Welch says Obama's 'wacky' climate-change agenda hurts the US economy

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Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, said Thursday the Obama administration's heavy focus on combating climate change is "radical behavior" that's holding back the economy.

A longtime GOP supporter, Welch told CNBC's "Squawk Box" the priority on preventing climate change spills over into "all kinds of policies throughout the different agencies."

The result, he said: "You get an economy that won't move. You get ozone regs that are wacky."

"You [also] get a reduced military," he added — saying the U.S. needs to rebuild its national defenses to combat the threat from the so-called Islamic State terrorist group. "You can't be sitting here with the real threat of a caliphate and ISIL ... and talking about climate change."

Welch said he's not a climate-change denier, just pointing out the "cost of doing it; it's got to be more balanced."

He feels the White House should be focusing elsewhere to get the economy back to a 3 percent growth rate. "In my view, it's a massive deregulation. It's all of the above. It's deregulation. It's [reforming] taxes."

"What we've got is a habitualized low-growth environment," said Welch, who actively participates in managing numerous companies as part of private equity group Clayton Dubilier & Rice, where he serves as senior advisor. "Most of these guys haven't been CEOs in good times."

Welch is also the executive chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University, which offers online MBA and executive certificate programs.