U.S. weighs steep cuts in nuclear force

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Associated Press has learned that the Obama administration is weighing sharp new cuts to the U.S. nuclear force, including a possible 80 percent reduction in the number of deployed weapons.

Even the most modest option would represent a bold disarmament step in an election year and is likely to raise the hackles of Republicans who worry about a smaller military force.

Such cuts would be in line with President Barack Obama's 2009 pledge to try to eliminate nuclear weapons.

No final decision has been made, but the administration is considering three options for lower numbers of weapons than the current treaty limit of 1,550 - ranging from about 1,000 to about 300. That's according to a former U.S. official and a congressional official. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because the strategy has not been publicly announced.

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