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A State Department board of experts is calling for steep cuts in U.S. nuclear forces beyond the New START treaty limits and recommends unilateral or informal reductions to avoid expected Senate ratification battles.

“Treaties are an important but not always necessary method for reducing nuclear arsenals,” the new report by the International Security Advisory Board says. “The United States has reduced its nuclear arsenal without negotiating a new treaty in the past—both unilaterally and reciprocally with Russia.”

A similar cut in nuclear forces could be considered again “as the United States reduces the role and number of nuclear weapons in its national security strategy,” the report says.

Disclosure of the State Department report comes as President Barack Obama, who has advocated eliminating all U.S. nuclear weapons, is close to approving a formal strategy that calls for deep cuts in nuclear forces beyond the 1,550 warheads mandated under the 2010 New START accord.

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