Targeting U.S. Technologies
Near East

Case Study

OVERVIEW

In fiscal year 2008 (FY08), entities from the Near East region once again generated the second highest degree of collection attempts to acquire U.S. technology, consistently maintaining this position for the last four years behind East Asia and the Pacific collectors. Commercial collectors within the Near East region continued to dominate collection attempts, accounting for almost half of all targeting. Distantly following commercial entities, collectors identifiable as government associated collectors accounted for more than a quarter of the targeting effort. These collectors primarily continued to seek technologies involving information systems; however, regional entities also focused on the optics, lasers, and aeronautics categories of technology. Near East collectors most commonly utilized direct requests as a means to obtain information, followed by solicitation, seeking employment and suspicious Internet activity techniques. The collectors in this region represented a vast spectrum of entities, ranging from student and business entrepreneurs to full-fledged government operators.

COLLECTOR AFFILIATIONS

Following a trend DSS noted in FY07 reporting, entities categorized as “commercial” continued to increase their collection efforts and accounted for 44 percent of all collection reports with a Near East nexus. The most significant regional change in FY08 reporting was the precipitous drop in collection efforts by entities strictly associated with government affiliates, constituting only seven percent of all collection efforts in FY08.

Analyst Comment: The continuing rise of Near East commercial entity activity continued to indicate a growing collusion between commercial entities and government associated entities, such as universities, public agencies, and research and development centers, to acquire leading-edge technology from defense industry. Consequently, the corresponding drop in strictly government entities is likely attributable to the regional governments’ close control of all commercial and government associated entities’ activities, reducing the need for direct government involvement in collection efforts. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

Affiliations

METHODS OF OPERATION

Near East entities continued to favor direct requests for information as the most common collection technique of choice, because of its low-risk, high-gain properties. Direct requests accounted for 74 percent of regional collection reports in FY08. Collectors also continued to use solicitation and seeking employment in their efforts to exploit cleared defense contractors (CDCs) for desired information. FY08 also saw a slight increase in the number of suspicious Internet activity incidents traceable to Near East entities. Although suspicious Internet activity incidents only accounted for less than five percent of all collection reports, this phenomenon mirrors rising cyber collection activities from other prolific regional collectors like East Asia and the Pacific and Europe and Eurasian collectors.

Analyst Comment: It is highly likely Near East collectors will continue to use direct request as their preferred method of operation (MO), but they will also use all available avenues of approach (like suspicious Internet activity) in their efforts to circumvent embargoes and target United States technology. This type of direct targeting increases the number of targets of opportunity and is likely to increase the success rate for acquiring sensitive, classified, and export-controlled United States technology. (Confidence Level: High)

Methods of Operation

TARGETED TECHNOLOGIES

Near East entities continued to steadily target information systems technologies as related to command, control, communication, computers, intelligences, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) programs, especially modeling and simulation systems. In a shift from previous years’ reporting, attempts for lasers and optics technology increased to second place displacing reports for aeronautics technology. The specific technologies associated with lasers and optics were predominately optical software programs and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) targeting payloads. Analyst Comment: As defense industry continues to make advances in the laser and optical payloads for the aeronautics field, it is highly likely that entities will continue to pursue aggressive collection attempts on this area in order to develop indigenous UAVs with weapons delivery and targeting capabilities. (Confidence Level: High)

Since 2003, the number of UAVs fielded in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars increased over five-fold, with a corresponding increase in suspicious entity interest. As UAV technology evolves with ever-increasing efficiency and effectiveness, the desire to obtain UAV emerging technologies, bundled-weapons platforms, and targeting platforms will also likely increase. Not to be overlooked, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also generated an increased focus on the acquisition of cutting edge technologies related to C4ISR programs, especially as they related to battlefield management capabilities.

Targeted Technologies

ANALYTICAL FORECAST

Entities originating from the Near East region will likely continue to pursue United States technology and information in order to develop their own force multipliers as well as to improve existing technology. It is highly likely they will continue to use the direct request MO in their attempts to acquire sensitive United States technology. Furthermore, channeling commercial affiliated requests through third party nations is also likely to grow in an effort to avoid sanctions and trade restrictions. As this region becomes more volatile, it is highly likely entities will continue to focus their collection on dual-use technologies such as information systems, laser and optics, and aeronautics technology, especially in the areas of C4ISR systems and UAV payloads. (Confidence Level: High)

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