President Obama has decided to seek deeper cuts in deployed strategic nuclear weapons to as few as 1,000 warheads, sharply below the target of 1,550 warheads required under a 2010 U.S.-Russia arms treaty, U.S. officials said Monday.

Critics say the steep cuts, which the administration will seek in new talks with a growing anti-U.S. government in Moscow, would undermine U.S. strategic deterrence for the United States and its allies in Asia and Europe.

The lower warhead levels also would be contrary to recent congressional testimony from a strategic forces commander who said further cuts would weaken the ability to deter nuclear states like Russia and China.

A U.S. strategic nuclear force posture of 1,000 strategic warheads has not been seen since the early 1950s. At the height of the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union had as many as 30,000 nuclear weapons.

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