Targeting U.S. Technologies
South and Central Asia

Case Study


Based on cleared industry reporting for fiscal year 2009 (FY09), entities originating in the South and Central Asian region ranked as the third most prolific regional collectors of U.S. technology and information. Cleared contractor reports detailing South and Central Asian illicit attempts to acquire classified or restricted information and technologies nearly doubled from the previous year, totaling 15 percent of all reports received from cleared industry. The lack of vital equipment needed to support strategic and tactical objectives, aging military equipment, and a heavy reliance on foreign nations for repairs and maintenance of current weapons systems have all likely contributed to the increase in reported attempts by South and Central Asian entities to acquire sophisticated weapons and technology.

Consistent with the other regions, the majority of South and Central Asian collection efforts in FY09 used the direct request method of operation (MO). Direct requests accounted for 82 percent of all suspicious incidents in FY09 and primarily targeted sensors and electronics technologies. In addition to using commercial affiliates, foreign collectors from this region often used non-traditional intermediary agents, such as professors and students, to obtain classified or restricted information and technologies.


Almost 70 percent of suspected South and Central Asian collection attempts in FY09 originated from the commercial sector. Continuing this dominating trend from the previous year, commercial collectors more than doubled their collection attempts, making it the most prolific collector affiliation for suspicious contact reports linked to this region.

While the collection attempts that DSS analysis directly linked to government officials or government associated entities rose slightly in FY09, the collection attempts involving entities from those two categories did not displace the sheer volume of contacts from commercial affiliates. Not to be overlooked, student collectors from the region were also active in seeking internship opportunities with cleared contractors.

Analyst Comment: The dominant commercial collection attempts from South and Central Asia will likely continue to be an ongoing trend. The expanding and increasingly integrated global business markets within the region have allowed foreign collectors to shift from traditional government or military entities to commercial actors. Commercialization and privatization of some formerly government-directed businesses likely enhances this affiliation shift. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

Figure 10


Direct requests for cleared contractor information or technology comprised more than 80 percent of all South and Central Asian solicitations for U.S. technologies and information, making the direct request technique, by far, the most common method of operation in FY09. Regional entities consistently used emails, web-card submissions, telephone calls, or facsimiles to request information and pricing in attempts to acquire classified and export-controlled U.S. technology.

South and Central Asian collectors also made significant use of the solicitation and seeking employment technique as a secondary means of acquiring information, with this method reflected in 11 percent of all reporting. These percentages have remained relatively consistent in recent years.

Analyst Comment: As the spread of technology through the integration of the global marketplace continues, the expansion of the international economy through trade and foreign direct investments will only increase foreign collection of U.S. technology. The continued growth of the information era and explosion of the digital age offer the ability to transfer information freely and provide instant access, likely promoting a more direct approach and effortless communication with cleared industry. (Confidence Level: High)

In FY09, industry reporting also indicated the increased use of U.S.-based South and Central Asian distributors as another avenue to potentially acquire controlled U.S. technology. Multiple FY09 requests originated from U.S.-based businesses whose owners appeared to be naturalized U.S. citizens. In these cases, DSS analysis attributed the suspicious requests to regional governments.

Analyst Comment: FY09 reporting indicated a slight change in regional collection tactics to obtain classified or restricted U.S. technology. U.S. citizens, acting as procurement agents on behalf of foreign governments, may contact cleared industry attempting to circumvent export control laws and restrictions. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

Figure 11


Based on FY09 reporting, South and Central Asian collectors expressed the most interest in technologies associated with sensors, electronics, information systems, and aeronautics technologies. Together, these four technology groups represented more than half of all the South and Central Asian collection efforts.

In FY09, regional entities focused primarily on sensors technology with emphasis on thermal imagers, night vision, surveillance systems, and various components related to radar systems. Requests for technical information related to electronics technology also increased in FY09, making it the second most sought-after technology category.

South and Central Asian collectors continued to target aeronautics in FY09, especially unmanned aerial vehicles. However, the volume of targeting focused on sensors and electronics technology and aeronautics dropped in the targeted technologies hierarchy from first position in FY08 to fourth position this year. During this reporting period, many of the sub-categories previously associated with aeronautics were targeted under sensors and electronics technologies, particularly intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.

Analyst Comment: The top targeted technologies reveal the regionís desire to improve remote sensor technology and field more capable ISR platforms. Governments within the region are hoping to significantly improve their conventional military forces and approach some level of parity with neighboring regionsí capabilities. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

Table 3


South and Central Asian entities will likely continue to target all aspects of export-controlled and classified U.S. technology with special emphasis on those technologies that promote the development of air, land, and sea-based defense capabilities and military sustainment. These collectors will also likely continue to use direct request methods of collection through email and the Internet as they offer low-cost, high gain opportunities to acquire classified or restricted technology.

Countries within the region will likely continue attempting to aggressively collect U.S. technology, with the ultimate goal of modernizing aging military equipment and deterring perceived threats from adversaries within and around the region. Regional governments will likely rely on foreign acquisitions and technology transfer agreements to modernize their militaries because they lack effective and innovative indigenous research and development programs. Concomitantly, these gaps may lead foreign collectors to exploit third-country transfers to obtain classified or restricted technology. (Confidence Level: Moderate)

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