US Considering Steep Cuts in Nuclear Weapons

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The Obama administration is considering large cuts in the U.S. nuclear force.

Those cuts could include an 80 percent reduction in the number of deployed weapons.

The move would be a step toward President Obama's 2009 pledge to try to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Even small cuts will likely draw heavy criticism from Republicans, who argue that a smaller nuclear force would weaken the U.S. at a time when other countries are strengthening their nuclear capabilities.

The U.S. is already on track to reduce deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550 by 2018, as required by New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.)

As of last Sept. 1, the United States had 1,790 warheads and Russia had 1,566, according to treaty-mandated reports by each country.

"The administration is absolutely correct to look at deep cuts like this. The United States does not rely on nuclear weapons as a central part of our security," Stephen Young, senior analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

No final decision has been made.

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