Targeting U.S. Technologies
South and Central Asia

Case Study


Entities from or working through the South and Central Asia region generated the fourth largest number of collection attempts in fiscal year 2008 (FY08). Commercial affiliated collectors retained their status as most active pursuers of sensitive or restricted technology, while government and government affiliated collection methods were not as prolific. These collectors relied heavily on direct requests for information or technology as the preferred method of operation (MO), accounting for a staggering 79 percent of all suspicious incidents. These collection attempts effectively leveraged the Internet and email as relatively low-risk, high-gain methods of choice.

The primary technologies these entities sought included requests for aeronautics technology [unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)], information systems (encryption software), and sensors technology (radars), while previously dominant requests for laser and optics technologies took a back seat to UAV components and platforms.


As in FY07, commercial entities remained the most active collectors originating from South and Central Asia, comprising more than 50 percent of all reported incidents. Although commercial collection attempts dominated suspicious contact reporting, individual collectors continued their steady targeting of defense industry, tying with the slightly rising number of government collectors as the second most prolific collection category.

Analyst Comment: Defense industry reporting in FY08 confirms previous DSS assessments highlighting commercial entities as primary South and Central Asian collectors. The ever-expanding global marketplace and increased dependence on the Internet likely aids the dominance of commercial affiliates offering a low-risk, high-gain alternative to traditional collection methods. Because of the opportunities the Internet affords commercial collectors, this tactic is not likely to abate in the near future. (Confidence Level: High)



South and Central Asian entities continued to use direct requests for information as their primary means to target defense industry, accounting for over 75 percent of collection attempts in FY08. Furthermore, the use of solicitation and seeking employment as a technique to acquire information or access was second only to the foreign visits and targeting method or tradecraft for suspicious incidents. These percentages remained relatively consistent with corresponding reporting from previous years.

Analyst Comment: In keeping with previous DSS assessments, entities from South and Central Asia prefer to utilize direct requests for information and the commercial sector to acquire United States technologies. It is highly likely this method is attributable to the cost effective nature of email and use of the Internet to maximize attempts and broaden business bases and clientele. (Confidence Level: High)

Methods of Operation


In FY08, South and Central Asian entities focused primarily on aeronautics technology with emphasis on UAV related technologies. This targeted technology saw the largest increase in FY08 and coincides with the worldwide targeting of aeronautics and UAV systems. Not to be overlooked, information systems technology, emphasizing communications and encryption technology, also registered a small increase in collection attempts while requests for lasers and optics technology decreased. Analyst comment: The decrease in laser and optics is likely related to the significant increase in aeronautics technology collection attempts. As the regionís most prolific collector of UAV technologies, South and Central Asian entities have likely shifted focus to UAV platforms and payloads in an effort to develop indigenous UAV research and development programs and modernize military reconnaissance and surveillance equipment. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

Targeted Technologies


As foreign reliance on contractual procurement firms to acquire United States technology continues, commercial entities are likely to maintain their position as the primary collector of dual-use technology in the South and Central Asia region. Furthermore, as countries within the South and Central Asia region desire to modernize their military equipment and deter perceived threats from various adversaries, this aggressive posture will likely drive future collection and targeting attempts. Interest in UAV technology and sophisticated airborne applications will likely continue in an effort to develop and improve current military forces in the event of any future regional hostilities. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

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