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The limits of friendship: US security cooperation in Central Asia.

Military Capabilities

Although it was becoming more apparent that CENTRASBAT would be unsuccessful in its role of promoting regional cooperation, US planners still saw value in developing the peacekeeping capabilities of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Additionally, as the Central Asian military leaders became more discouraged at the lack of US response to the IMU incursions, US security-cooperation officials saw the need to focus more attention on building indigenous military capabilities for each country. Developing military capabilities through exercises, training courses, and equipment deliveries began to develop as a distinct objective for US security-cooperation programs.

Equipment Deliveries

The United States continued to provide funding (FMF) for equipment purchases in small amounts to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan through this period. The total amount provided to these nations each year, on average, was $5.7 million; not much more than the total provided in 1998. This aid was again justified as supporting CENTRASBAT, NATO interoperability, and the development of capabilities for peacekeeping, search and rescue, and humanitarian operations. The only new proposal was the request for FMF for Turkmenistan, where the State Department indicated Ashgabat was considering a project that would provide 'Western-standard, day/ night, all-weather approach capability for a Turkmen airfield that will be open to US Air Force aircraft." Unfortunately, this initiative, which could have directly supported future US military operations, was later cancelled. Despite the concerns in Central Asia over the IMU incursions, there was no mention in the 2000 or 2001 FMF justifications of using the aid to develop counterinsurgency capabilities in these countries. (35)

Ironically, just as CENTRASBAT was collapsing, the military equipment purchased for it under the FMS program began to arrive in Central Asia. Despite having first received FMF in 1997, the Central Asian states did not begin to receive equipment deliveries under the FMS program until 1999, and the first deliveries were so inconsequential as to almost be insulting. When the new security assistance officer arrived in Almaty in May 2001, he found that of the $7 million in FMF allocated for Kazakhstan since 1997, only $29 thousand worth of flight suits had actually been delivered. (36) USCENTCOM officials began to understand Central Asian frustrations with the FMS program on the first official visit to the region in the summer of 1998. In Tashkent, Minister of Defense Gen Hikmetulla Tursunov pleaded for USCENTCOM assistance in receiving the 16 high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWV) Uzbekistan had ordered, wanting to receive them prior to the CENTRASBAT exercise in September. Those vehicles would not arrive until February 2000 (fig. 5). In Turkmenistan, Gen Danatar Kopekov, the minister of defense, castigated American officials, stating he had been unable to use the approximately $1 million in FMF funds promised to date: "We don't owe you, and you don't owe us, but if you make a promise we would like an answer. I am fed up with promises and I have seen no results." (37) In fact, Turkmenistan was not to come to an agreement with the United States on equipment sales until 2002, and the first deliveries did not occur until 2003. (38)

Some equipment did start to slowly trickle into Central Asia, with most of it going to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In February 2000, Tashkent finally received its HMMWVs, a delivery many observers, not fully appreciating the slowness of the FMS system, claimed was a US response to the IMU incursions the previous year. Uzbekistan also started to receive several English language laboratories and Kyrgyzstan received uniforms, mountaineering equipment, and radios. Kazakhstan, dismayed at the lack of responsiveness to its requests, cancelled its open FMS agreements, and directed all available funds be used to refurbish the barracks at the Atyrau Naval Base on the Caspian Sea, a project that would take four years to complete. Fortunately, by December 2001, $2.500 million worth of radios and communications gear and $850 thousand worth of web belts, rucksacks, and body armor arrived. These were the first deliveries for the Kazakh element of CENTRASBAT, over five years after military aid under the FMF program was first proposed. (39)


Likewise, some of the Central Asian states began to receive US equipment under the EDA program. This equipment, no longer deemed useful by the US military, is offered on an "as is, where is," and usually on a "first-come, first-serve" basis. In 1998, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan were first authorized to receive grant EDA. (40) The State Department initially advocated approval by arguing that it would provide radios and other communications equipment for the CENTRASBAT unit (and for Turkmenistan, which was not a part of CENTRASBAT). But, it was unlikely that NATO-interoperable communications equipment would be available through EDA.

It was not until 2000 that equipment under this program was first delivered, and most of the EDA provided to the Central Asian states was miscellaneous office or kitchen equipment, tools, or uniform items. The primary exception was the 82-foot patrol boat, Point Jackson, delivered to Turkmenistan for maritime security on the Caspian Sea. Given the type of equipment and timing, it is possible that some of it was surplus materials left behind after the CENTRASBAT 2000 exercise. Of note, Kazakhstan was slated to receive the USCGC Mariposa (WLB-397), a Basswood-class 180-foot buoy tender originally built in 1944, through the EDA program. However, due to the disruption in the security-cooperation programs caused by the MiG-21 sale to North Korea, the deal was cancelled in 1999 (table 6). (41)

Not all US offers to help build necessary military capabilities met with success. On a visit to Ashgabat in 2000, General Zinni proposed assisting the Turkmen government in addressing pipe line security issues. The Turkmen minister of defense brushed aside this offer, stating "Well, this will be addressed as soon as the pipeline is arranged." (42) Ashgabat had limits on the type of military aid it would accept from the United States, and clearly assistance in securing the pipelines was outside of those limits.

Training Courses

As previously mentioned, during the three-year period 19992001 there was a shift in the type of training courses provided through the IMET program. Previously, the IMET program in Central Asia had focused primarily on English-language courses to build a cadre of in-country English-language instructors, and later on professional courses that would advance military democratization and defense reform. As late as 1998, less than 32 percent of the students from Central Asia attending IMET courses in the United States were gaining combat skills in such courses as infantry, armor, or field artillery officer training. (43) Additionally, almost 320 students attended Disciplined Military Operations, Military Justice, Peace Operations, and Defense Resource Management courses taught by DIILS and DRMI METs in Central Asia. (44)

From 1999 to 2001, almost 55 percent of the IMET courses were focused on combat skills. Central Asian military personnel came to the United States for Ranger training, Special Forces operations qualification, Special Forces sergeants course, airborne training, winter mountain leader course, and infantry, armor, and field artillery officer courses. (45) Attendance at the war colleges dropped by a third, and only a single MET visited the region, training only 16 Uzbekistani students. The emphasis on CENTRASBAT had finally caught up with the IMET program, as most of the personnel attending these courses were assigned to that unit. But it is clear that the IMET program had started shifting away from promoting military democratization and defense reform toward providing combat skills. This trend was partially offset by a 50 percent increase in the number of students attending the Marshall Center, which is not funded through IMET. What is not clear is whether this shift was deliberate or simply a function of the emphasis on CENTRASBAT.


Officers and enlisted personnel from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan continued to participate in NATO PfP exercises such as Cooperative Nugget, Cooperative Osprey, Combined Endeavor, and others more often in Europe than in the United States. The US- and NATO-funded Central Asian participation was funded with WIF and matching PfP funds. US officials encouraged Central Asian military leaders to take part in as many exercises as possible, believing that increasing the linkages to Western institutions such as NATO would help reform Central Asian military establishments. These exercises became a routine but important element of the security-cooperation program.

While the NATO exercises continued unchanged, the rest of the exercise schedule underwent a transformation. The most important change to the exercise program stemmed from General Zinni's decision to task USSOCCENT, his special operations component command, to act as the lead agency for building relationships in Central Asia. In a 1999 interview, US Army Brig Gen Frank J. Toney Jr., then USSOCCENT's commanding general, outlined his new mission: 'We've just been given responsibility for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. General Zinni has made us the operational lead, and he wants to use SOF [special operations forces] with our military-to-military peacetime engagement techniques to open up those particular countries for training with US forces." (46) General Toney ramped up the SOFEX and JCET programs to meet this need and he turned to the subordinate 5th Special Forces Group (5 SFG) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, for the A-Teams.

Each of the seven SFGs in the US Army specializes in operating in a particular area of the world, and the 5 SFG's region was the Middle East and Southwest Asia. Some members spoke Russian, Uzbek, Tajik, or another of the indigenous languages of Central Asia. With approximately 54 A-Teams, each with 12 personnel, available for missions, the 5 SFG began conducting month-long exercises up to four times a year in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Those in Kyrgyzstan were known as Balance Knight and Balance Knife exercises. Balance Umbra was held in April 2000 with Uzbekistani special forces in Chirchik and focused on counterinsurgency operations in mountain environments; Balance Empire was held in June 2001 and focused on desert operations. Some sources suggest exercises were also conducted in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan during this period. The training in these exercises focused on combat skills: patrolling, small arms training, and explosives handling. (47)

The 5 SFG was not the only special operations unit to exercise in Central Asia. The Air Force's 6th Special Operations Squadron (6 SOS), specializing in training foreign aviation units in internal defense, deployed operational detachments to Central Asia several times during this period. Two members of the unit were in Uzbekistan for language training in September 2001 and played a minor role in coordinating basing rights at Karshi-Khanabad. And on at least one occasion, US Navy sea-air-land teams (SEAL) passed through the region. (48)

One of these events was expanded to meet a specific Kazakh desire for bilateral field training. In late 1998, as Kazakh military leaders debated the future of CENTRASBAT, they wanted to continue field exercises with the US military in order to train their peacekeeping company as it expanded to a battalion. They invited the United States to participate in a bilateral exercise in the summer of 1999 called Zhardem. Linked to the Balance exercises, it is often referred to as Balance-Zhardem. From 14 July-10 August, 54 Americans and over 150 Kazakhs from the peacekeeping unit conducted a crisis response, humanitarian assistance, and refugee management exercise that included combat drills such as mountain training, artillery raids, and defending against combined arms assaults. Zhardem was a success and became a permanent element of the exercise schedule, with evolutions in March 2002 and March 2005. (49)

Following the IMU incursions in the summer of 1999, these special operations training exercises took on a new significance as the most responsive and effective means of providing US support to the Central Asian military forces. Other elements of the security-cooperation toolset were not flexible enough to meet this new need. Training courses available through the IMET program took too long to schedule and generally provided only basic skills. The bureaucracy of the FMS program meant that it could take years before new equipment could be delivered. (The HMMWVs delivered to Uzbekistan in February 2000 had been on order since 1998.) The CENTRASBAT exercise program, concerned with peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, was focused on the wrong skill sets. But the special operations exercises provided a means to quickly and effectively train counterinsurgency forces in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

On the Eve

In the final months of 2001, few expected many major changes to the security-cooperation efforts in Central Asia. Funding levels and programs had generally reached a plateau and political developments in the region appeared to have placed a cap on what Washington was willing to provide. Central Asian political and military leaders began to appreciate the limits to which the United States was willing to assist in their security. As it would turn out, they had expected more funding, more equipment, more training, and more security guarantees than they actually received. Some programs generated more frustrations than others. The slowness of the equipment deliveries and the increasing irrelevance of the CENTRASBAT unit made it clear that US aid would not fundamentally transform the capabilities of these military forces. And the struggle to find additional resources made it clear to US officials that they had few available means to influence political and military developments in the region.

When USCENTCOM assumed responsibility for Central Asia in 1999, few in the headquarters thought that the relationships they needed to build through security-cooperation programs would so quickly be put to the test. Most probably assumed the programs would continue in the long, slow process common to these efforts. Perhaps a few dreamed of small improvements such as those being gained through the JCETs and special operations exercise programs. On the eve of 10 September, most US officials engaged in the security-cooperation programs in the region expected another year of modest advancements. The terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, would change those perspectives overnight, and the security-cooperation programs in Central Asia would see growth on a scale never before seen.

Michael J. McCarthy

Lieutenant Colonel, USAF


(1.) Dana Priest, The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2003), 115.

(2.) Leila Kazemi, "Domestic Sources of Uzbekistan's Foreign Policy, 1991 to the Present," Journal of International Affairs 56, no. 2 (Spring 2003), 210-11.

(3.) Ibid., 210-13.

(4.) Priest, The Mission, 100-101 (see chap. 4, note 1).

(5.) Kazemi, "Domestic Sources of Uzbekistan's Foreign Policy," 212 (see chap. 4, note 2).

(6.) Annette Bohr, "Regionalism in Central Asia: New Geopolitics, Old Regional Order," International Affairs 80, no. 3 (May 2004), 487, 495.

(7.) Robert Legvold, "U.S. Policy Toward Kazakhstan," in Thinking Strategically: The Major Powers, Kazakhstan, and the Central Asian Nexus, ed. Robert Legvold (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003), 92-93.

(8.) Ibid., 93-94.

(9.) Ibid., 94.

(10.) Martha Brill Olcott, Central Asia's Second Chance (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005), 43.

(11.) A National Security Strategy, 11 (see chap. 3, note 3).

(12.) Joseph P. Harahan and Capt Robert J. Bennett, Creating the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (Washington, DC: Defense Threat Reduction Agency, 2002), 2-20.

(13.) Defense Threat Reduction Agency correspondence (see chap. 3, note 21).

(14.) Defense Threat Reduction Agency, "Success Stories: Impact of the ICP [International Counterproliferation Program] on Proliferation," http: / /www.dtra .mil/Toolbox/Directorates/OSI/Programs/icp/success.cfm (accessed 28 April 2006); Bruce B. Auster, "Nation & World, Speed-Reading the Book of Life; The Cigarette Spies; Stopping 'Dirty' Bombs; Selling Hate Online; How They Got Here," U.S. News and World Report, 17 April 2000, usnews/culture/articles/000417/archive_018014.htm (accessed 28 April 2006); Harahan and Bennett, Creating the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, 38 (see chap. 4, note 12); and Office of the Coordinator of US Assistance to Europe and Eurasia, U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with Eurasia, FY 2001 Annual Report (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2002), 260.

(15.) Director of Strategy and Plans, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, "Central Asia Border Security Initiative (CASI) Background Paper," undated, in Addendum to the Peacetime Engagement Planning Reference Book, 2001 Joint Chiefs of Staff/Office of the Secretary of Defense Russia-Eurasia Policy and Strategy Conference, Washington, DC, 2-6 April 2001.

(16.) Ronald H. Cole, Walter S. Poole, James F. Schnabel, Robert J. Watson, and Willard J. Webb, The History of the Unified Command Plan, 1946-1999 (Washington, DC: Joint History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2003), 109. USCENTCOM, which had conducted Operation Desert Storm against Iraq, also received responsibility for contingency plan ning and executing military operations in the region, a point which was not lost on Russia. This responsibility became critical after 11 September 2001, when USCENTCOM staged out of Central Asia to conduct operations in Afghanistan.

(17.) Tom Clancy, Gen Tony Zinni (retired), and Tony Koltz, Battle Ready (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2004), 338.

(18.) Priest, The Mission, 104 (see chap. 4, note 1).

(19.) Clancy, Zinni, and Koltz, Battle Ready, 342-43 (see chap. 4, note 17); and Priest, The Mission, 103 (see chap. 4, note 1).

(20.) Bhatty and Bronson, "NATO's Mixed Signals," 134 (see chap. 3, note 25).

(21.) Clancy, Zinni, and Koltz, Battle Ready, 311-34 (see chap. 4, note 17).

(22.) Director of Strategy and Plans, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Peacetime Engagement Planning Reference Book, 2001 Joint Chiefs of Staff/Office of the Secretary of Defense Russia-Eurasia Policy and Strategy Conference, Washington, DC, 2-6 April 2001.

(23.) Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 1999 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 1998), 680-86, 696-98, 702-704; Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2000 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 1999), 660-68, 684-87, 693-97; Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2001 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2000), 491-95, 504-06, 510-12; Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2002 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2001), 363-67, 373-75, 379-80.

(24.) Author's personal experience as a participant, May 1999, Tampa, FL.

(25.) Trip Report (see chap. 3, note 15).

(26.) Martin C. Spechler, "Regional Non-Cooperation in Central Asia: A Pathology," Economic Developments and Reforms in Cooperation Partner Countries: The Interrelationship Between Regional Economic Cooperation, Security, and Stability; NATO Economic Colloquium, Bucharest, Romania, 2-4 May 2001, 269.

(27.) "Kyrgyzstani Defense Minister Says NATO Cooperation Crucial for Military Policy," Moscow Interfax, 5 July 2004.

(28.) Lyle J. Goldstein, "Beyond the Steppe: Projecting Power into the New Central Asia," Journal of Slavic Military Studies 17, no. 2 (April-June 2004), 194.

(29.) Embassy of the United States, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Press Release, "Head of US Central Command Visits Uzbekistan," 16 May 2000, http:// (accessed 8 March 2006); and Sherman W. Garnett, Alexander Rahr, and Koji Watanabe, The New Central Asia: In Search of Stability--A Report to the Trilateral Commission, (New York: The Trilateral Commission, 2000), 28.

(30.) "CENTRASBAT," (see chap. 3, note 45); and Lt Col James DeTemple, "Central Asia," The NIS Observed: An Analytical View 5, no. 14 (17 September 2000), (accessed 12 March 2006); Butler, "U.S. Military Cooperation" (see chap. 3, note 54); Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, "Building Cooperative Security Ties in Central Asia," Stanford Journal of International Relations 3, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2002), (accessed 17 February 2006); and "Uzbeks, Kyrgyz 'disappointed' at NATO inaction over militants - Kazakh paper,", 22 September 2000, http://www (accessed 17 February 2006).

(31.) Robert Karniol, "Antiterror Needs Cancel CENTRASBAT Exercise," Janes Defense Weekly 37, no. 4, 23 January 2002.

(32.) USCENTCOM personnel, interviewed by author, 27-29 September 2005.

(33.) Clancy, Zinni, and Koltz, Battle Ready, 320 (see chap. 4, note 17).

(34.) Edward L. Hughes, Ken H. Butts, Bernard F. Griffard, and Arthur L. Bradshaw Jr., eds., Responding to Environmental Challenges in Central Asia and the Caspian Basin, USCENTCOM Central Asia States Environmental Security Conference, 6-8 March 2001, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Report (Carlisle, PA: US Army War College Center for Strategic Leadership, 2001), 11, Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf; and Bernard F. Griffard, "Enhancing Regional Stability and Security in Central Asia: Implementing the U.S. Central Command Disaster Preparedness Program," Center for Strategic Leadership Issue Paper, vol. 10-04 (Carlisle, PA: US Army War College Center for Strategic Leadership, November 2004), 2, publications/ 10-04.pdf (accessed 23 January 2006).

(35.) Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, (see chap. 4, note 23).

(36.) Lt Col William Lahue, USA, "Security Assistance in Kazakhstan: Building a Partnership for the Future," The DISAM Journal of International Security Assistance Management 25, no. 1 (Fall 2002/Winter 2003), 10.

(37.) Trip Report (see chap. 3, note 15).

(38.) Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales, and Military Assistance Facts (Washington, DC: Defense Security Cooperation Agency, 2004), 13, 28-29.

(39.) Embassy of the United States, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Press Release, "U.S. Government Delivers Military Transport Vehicles to Uzbekistan," 14 February2000, =1&overview=646 (accessed 8 March 2006); Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLIELC) correspondence (see chap. 3, note 38); Lahue, "Security Assistance in Kazakhstan," 10 (see chap. 4, note 36); and "Fiscal Year 2002 U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with Eurasia" (Washington, DC: Department of State, January 2003), http://www (accessed 8 March 2006).

(40.) Office of the Coordinator of US Assistance for Europe and Eurasia, US Department of State, Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 1999 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 1998), 1006.

(41.) Marat Kenzhetaev, "Kazakhstan's Military-Technical Cooperation with Foreign States: Current Status, Structure and Prospects," http://mdb.cast .ru (accessed 6 March 2006).

(42.) Priest, The Mission, 116-17 (see chap. 4, note 1).

(43.) Director of Strategy and Plans (see chapter 3, note 28).

(44.) Author with Defense Institute for International Legal Studies, and Defense Resource Management Institute, correspondence, January 2006.

(45.) Director of Strategy and Plans (see chap. 3, note 28); Director of Strategy and Plans (see chap. 4, note 22); Foreign Military Training and DOD Engagement Activities of Interest, vol.1, FY 1999 and 2000 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2000), .html; and Foreign Military Training and DOD Engagement Activities of Interest, vol. 1, FY 2000 and 2001 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2001),

(46.) Glenn W. Goodman Jr., "Low-Key Spadework By Green Berets Reaps Valuable Benefits For War In Afghanistan," Armed Forces Journal International, January 2002, 60.

(47.) Ibid.; Chivers, "Long Before War" (see chap. 1, note 2); "U.S., Uzbekistan military hold joint training," United Press International, 22 June 2001; "To Which Extent is Realistic the Threat of Armed Incursion into the Southern Border of Uzbekistan?" Uzbekistan Local Press Digest, (undated) 4_1.shtml; Office of the Coordinator of US Assistance to Europe and Eurasia, US Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities With Eurasia, Fiscal Year 2001 Annual Report (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2002), 98; and Director of Strategy and Plans (see chap. 4, note 22).

(48.) Chivers, "Long Before War" (see chap. 1, note 2); Lt Gen Michael W. Wooley, "America's Quiet Professionals: Specialized Airpower--Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow," Air and Space Power Journal 19, no. 1 (Spring 2005), 59; and Robert Burns, "Commandos Specialize in Secret Missions," Associated Press, 29 November 2002.

(49.) "U.S.-Kazakhstani Military Exercises Previewed," Moscow Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 27 June 1999, 7; "Plan, Goals for Zhardem Exercises Assessed," Moscow Obshchaya Gazeta, 15-21 July 1999, no. 28, 7; and "Solemn Closing Ceremony of the Kazakhstani-American Combined Exercise 'Balans-Zhardem' with Participation," Kazakhstani Ministry of Defense Public Affairs Office, August 1999, (accessed 18 April 2006).

Chapter 5

Rewards and rebalance

Can we count on overflight rights for the duration? And where do we stage? Where do we base? ... In the north, maybe we can strike a deal with President Karimov in Uzbekistan. Maybe even with the Turkmenbashi ... Uzbekistan, of course, will be vital to the operation.... But President Karimov is sitting on the fence. But we've got to convince him we'll stay the course once we go in.... I think we can work out our issues with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

--Gen Tommy Franks, US Central Command speaking to his staff on 12 September 2001

In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, the Central Asian region, which had for so long been underappreciated by strategic planners in Washington, gained new value. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State B. Lynn Pascoe asserted in testimony before Congress that "it was critical to the national interests of the United States that we greatly enhance our relations with the five Central Asian countries" to prevent them from becoming harbors for terrorism. (1) US military forces deployed to bases in Central Asia to conduct offensive operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. All five of the Central Asian states granted the US and coalition forces overflight privileges and most offered basing rights. US forces were established primarily at Karshi-Khanabad in Uzbekistan and Manas in Kyrgyzstan, but were also permitted to use, with certain restrictions, facilities in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

Army general Tommy Franks, the successor to General Zinni as USCENTCOM commander, knew the overflight and basing rights came at a price. (2) Although these nations were reimbursed for costs associated with using the facilities, (3) General Franks wanted to do as much as possible to ensure rapport with the civilian and military leaders in these countries so he could maintain access into Afghanistan. General Franks sought every opportunity to increase the existing security-cooperation pro grams and develop new ones as a means of rewarding the Central Asian nations for their support in Operation Enduring Freedom. He told his staff he wanted to bring "goodies" each time he traveled to the region, making four trips by January 2002. (4)

High Watermark

From September 2001 to August 2002 marked the high watermark of US security-cooperation efforts in Central Asia. Instead of being viewed as the backwater in Washington's and USCENTCOM's security-cooperation calculus, Central Asia moved to the forefront. Resources were redirected and new programs were established. Among the first steps in this expansion was establishing a security-cooperation relationship with Tajikistan.

For the previous decade, Tajikistan had been left out of most US security-cooperation initiatives. Until 1997 the civil war and resulting turmoil provided few opportunities for security-cooperation activities, and concern over human rights and the integration of the opposition forces meant Washington kept Dushanbe at arms length. Tajikistan was not eligible for WIF funds as it had not joined NATO's PfP, and with no nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons facilities, there was little justification for including Tajikistan in the CTR program. (5) The only program Tajikistan participated in was attending the Marshall Center, and by the end of 2000 some 42 Tajik officers and civilians had graduated. (6) By 2001, however, US policy makers believed the country had stabilized enough to allow for a few tentative links, and in January, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Jeffrey Starr visited Dushanbe to initiate discussions. (7) General Franks followed with a visit in May 2001 during which he conveyed Pres. George W. Bush's message that Tajikistan was considered to be a "strategically significant country" for stability and security in Central Asia and offered to initiate specific security-cooperation programs. (8) Little of substance had been accomplished by September, but Tajikistan was soon to benefit from its willingness to host US forces. When Tajikistan joined the NATO PfP program in November 2001, it became eligible for WIF funding and began participating in related military contact events and exercises.

The United States also formalized and expanded its security relationships with the other countries in the region, most notably Uzbekistan. On 12 March 2002, US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Uzbekistani foreign minister Adulaziz Kamilov signed a Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Framework which offered the strongest statement Washington had ever issued regarding security in Central Asia: "The U.S. affirms that it would regard with grave concern any external threat to the security and territorial integrity of the Republic of Uzbekistan." (9) It was much less than President Karimov wanted, but it marked a significant, if only temporary, step in the relationship between the two countries. Likewise, USCENTCOM sought to reinvigorate its relationship with Turkmenistan, particularly by way of the SPP with the Nevada National Guard which had been dormant for several years. (10)

With a supplemental authorization from Congress, over $55.650 million in FMF funds were provided to the Central Asian states in 2002--almost twice as much as had been provided for the entire region from 1997 through 2001. The overwhelming majority, $36.207 million, was given to Uzbekistan, but Kyrgyzstan received $11 million and Kazakhstan $4.750 million. Tajikistan received $3.700 million, almost as much as longtime partner Kazakhstan. Although all four nations were willing to host US forces, the increase in FMF was clearly directed to those countries chosen by the United States for its basing needs. Fortunately, over $8.462 million in equipment previously ordered also began to arrive in Central Asia, more than twice as much as had been delivered to that point, and much of that went to Kazakhstan (the radios and individual equipment for KAZBAT identified in the previous chapter). Training and education programs also saw an increase: IMET funding almost doubled to over $3 million, and war college quotas doubled.

New programs were initiated as well. The Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship, established in March 2002, supplemented IMET by providing Defense Department (as opposed to State Department) funds for attendance in nonlethal counterterrorism training and education courses. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan began to receive funds in 2003 (table A.9, appendix A). In most cases, this funding was used to attend courses that would have normally been funded through IMET, such as Air Command and Staff College, Signal Officers Basic Course, and the International Defense Management Course.

However, in some cases, the Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship (RDCTF) program was used to fund attendance at new courses specifically focused on counterterrorism, such as Combating Terrorism in a Democratic Society and Civil-Military Responses to Terrorism offered primarily at the same institutions that had previously seen students from Central Asia, such as the Center for Civil-Military Relations at NPS and the DIILS. (11)

Similarly, in June 2002, Uzbekistan, while considering using its FMF to purchase radios and other communications gear, requested an assessment of its communications systems and networks. USCENTCOM tasked the US Air Force's Electronic Systems Center to conduct a command, control, communications, computers (C4) study under the Regional Airspace Initiative Program, one of the interoperability programs eligible for WIF funding. This study was completed in September 2003. (12)

Not all programs showed such a dramatic increase. Because of ongoing combat operations in Afghanistan, the special operations exercise program had to be scaled back and some military contact events were cancelled due to the lack of available US forces to participate. In Uzbekistan, for example, three of eight special operations exchanges and 14 of 37 military contact events scheduled for 2002 were cancelled. (13) Fortunately, some critical events continued: for example, the 6 SOS was still able to deploy to Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in 2002, and the 10 SFG from Fort Carson, Colorado, sent a twelveman team to train Kazakhstani forces in counterterrorism operations in February and March, 2002. (14) The Regional Cooperation exercises for 2002 and 2003, which had supplanted CENTRASBAT, were also cancelled. To make up for these cancellations, the Central Asian states, particularly Uzbekistan, were invited to participate in many more multilateral NATO PfP exercises, hosted by USEUCOM and US Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM). Uzbekistan, for example, participated in Cooperative Endeavor 02, Cooperative Nugget 02, Cooperative Safeguard 02, Cooperative Zenith 02, and Strong Resolve 02. (15)

The Central Asian states reciprocated to Washington's overtures by sending liaison officers to USCENTCOM headquarters in Tampa. Five Uzbek officers arrived in December 2001, five from Kyrgyzstan arrived in May 2002, and three from Kazakhstan in June 2002. (16) Although the purpose of assigning these officers to USCENTCOM was to facilitate the coordination of support for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and, in the case of Kazakhstan, Operation Iraqi Freedom, their presence at the headquarters marked a major step in the bilateral relationships and occasionally assisted in planning and executing security-cooperation activities. Likewise, as a reflection of the new relationship between Uzbekistan and the United States, in June 2002, Tashkent sent Lt Col Ilkhomjon Bekmirzaev, who was serving as a liaison officer at USCENTCOM, to Washington to serve as its defense attache, the first new attache since 1997. (17)

New Equilibrium

As quickly as the programs increased in the fall of 2001, they began to decrease a year later. FMF allocations, which exceeded $55 million in 2002, dropped to just over $16 million in 2003 and then below $10 million in 2004. The downward trend continued through 2006 and the projections for 2007. IMET funding continued to increase for a year, but then returned to its 2002 level of approximately $3 million per year. Part of this decrease is a reflection of the end of combat actions in Afghanistan and the perceived decreasing need to reward the Central Asian states for their support, but there were other factors that led to a rebalance of the security-cooperation programs in the region. Increasing concern over human rights abuses led to a slow but steady decline in US relations with most of the Central Asian states, culminating in an almost complete severing of the security-cooperation relationship with Uzbekistan following the Andijon incident in May 2005 and the subsequent eviction of US forces from Karshi-Khanabad. Simultaneously, the increasing pressures of the war in Iraq led to additional tensions and distractions.

Human Rights and the Colored Revolutions

Some Central Asian leaders saw the new relationship with the United States in the war on terrorism as an opportunity to eliminate any remaining opposition to their rule. US officials continued to advocate that human rights considerations would continue to factor heavily in US policy toward the region, but Central Asian elites, particularly in Tashkent and Bishkek, believed their cooperation with the United States would inoculate them against US disapproval for their repressive actions and quickly labeled any opposition group as terrorist. Within months, both the US State Department and international political activists were noting that the human rights situation had demonstrably worsened since the US involvement started. In March 2002, US assistant secretary of state Lorne Craner admitted the Uzbekistani government was using the war on terrorism as a pretext for cracking down on domestic political opponents, but argued that more US involvement, rather than less, would eventually influence President Karimov to permit greater freedoms. (18) By December 2003, US secretary of state Powell declined to certify Uzbekistan as having made progress in respecting human rights an act which put a freeze on most security-cooperation activities between the two countries. Military contact events could continue, but Uzbekistan would not be granted any additional IMET or FMF funding.

Uzbekistan was not the only Central Asian state with a worsening human rights record during this period. An assassination attempt against President Niyazov on 25 November 2002, led to harsh repressive measures against opposition groups in Turkmenistan. While Niyazov has never been afraid of using force to maintain his hold on power, the aftermath of the attack brought particularly egregious abuses, including arresting family members of the accused conspirators, an unauthorized search of the Uzbekistani embassy, and the expulsion of the Uzbekistani ambassador. The United States, instead of backing Niyazov as he expected, called for an investigation into human rights abuses and condemned Turkmenistan for violating international conventions protecting diplomats. The relationship between the United States and Turkmenistan cooled as Niyazov turned to Russia for support. (19)

In November 2003, following what many believed to be rigged parliamentary elections, popular opposition overthrew the government of Pres. Eduard Shevardnadze in Georgia in what came to be known as the "Rose Revolution." Central Asian leaders were quick to note that Georgia had sided with the United States in the war on terrorism and hosted US forces under the Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP). The following autumn, a similar political upheaval--the "Orange Revolution"--in Ukraine after fraudulent presidential elections once again drew an apparent linkage between military cooperation with the United States and internal instability and an overturning of the existing political order.

Soon the colored revolutions would come to Central Asia. In March 2005, demonstrators chased Pres. Askar Akayev from power. Although the US forces at Manas were not involved, President Karimov in Uzbekistan began to believe that the US military presence at Karshi-Khanabad, rather than serving as a force against insurgents such as the IMU, offered no protection to his regime and may in fact be a source of instability. When the United States called for an independent investigation of the deaths of hundreds of civilians at Andijon in May 2005, Karimov began to distance his government from the United States. Restrictions were placed in US operations from Karshi-Khanabad and on 29 July 2005, Karimov exercised a provision in the original basing agreement and gave US forces six months to leave. (20) By the spring of 2006, US Army major Paul Schmitt, the US SAO in Tashkent, characterized his work as "trying to conduct security cooperation in a hostile environment." (21)

The War in Iraq

Washington was increasingly concerned over the human rights situation in Central Asia becoming increasingly sensitive to charges that its security-cooperation efforts with these authoritarian leaders were exacerbating the abuses. But other factors were also impinging on Central Asia's primacy in security-cooperation affairs. Within USCENTCOM, the effort required to plan for the invasion of Iraq began to divert attention away from Central Asia. President Bush began seriously considering options against Iraq as early as November 2001, and planners at USCENTCOM immediately began updating and modifying existing war plans. When the original war plans proved inadequate, they developed a new concept of operations which General Franks briefed to President Bush on 5 August 2002. The president approved the concept and the following day General Franks issued orders to his subordinate commanders to start detailed planning actions. (22) Two weeks later he left Tampa on what was to be his last trip to Central Asia as the USCENTCOM commander. When he returned, his attention and that of the USCENTCOM senior leadership and staff was focused increasingly on the coming conflict with Iraq. Despite the continuing operations in Afghanistan and continuing deployment of US units to the region, Central Asia again became a secondary consideration. Without the constant attention and influence of the senior leaders, the security-cooperation efforts in Central Asia began to lose momentum. (23)

The Iraq war had a negative impact on relations throughout most of Central Asia. With the exception of President Karimov (at least initially), Central Asian leaders were opposed to US operations against Saddam Hussein. Almaty was concerned that a successful US invasion would lead to a drop in oil prices and reduced investment in Kazakhstan's growing oil industry. Most of the leaders were also concerned that the war in Iraq would bring a resurgence in Islamic radicalism and terrorism throughout Central Asia. Soon, however, they began to understand the implications of the US efforts to overthrow the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein for their own futures--if Washington was willing to invade Iraq to install a new regime, what would it be willing to do against Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan? (24) The Iraq war both decreased US attention and increased Central Asian concerns.

Planning and Organizational Changes

Since the establishment of the JCTP program by USEUCOM in 1989, there had always been a distinction between security-assistance activities and military-engagement activities. This bifurcation was perpetuated by the military organizations that conduct each type of activity. Training and equipping programs were (and are) largely conducted by the military services (Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps) within their respective systems of training and acquisition organizations--often referred to as the institutional element of the service--as part of the military services' organize, train, and equip responsibilities under Title 10 of the US Code. Security-assistance training and education programs conducted by the Air Force, for example, are executed by Air Education and Training Command (AETC) as an embedded subset of the larger training and education programs for the US Air Force. Likewise, the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) is responsible for executing foreign military sales within the processes used to acquire weapon systems and military equipment.

However, engagement activities such as military contact events and exercises are usually conducted by the combatant commanders and their subordinate component commands. USCENTCOM, is responsible for military contact programs and joint exercises, and relies on its subordinate commands--US Army Central Command (USARCENT); US Central Command Air Forces (USCENTAF); US Naval Forces, Central Command (USNAVCENT); US Marine Component, Central Command (USMARFORCENT); and USSOCCENT--to execute these activities. Although security-assistance programs and engagement activities could be directed toward the same goal, as they were for CENTRASBAT, they were viewed as independent and distinct activities governed by separate regulations and bureaucracies.

The publication of the Quadrennial Defense Review in late September 2001 for the first time drew together these separate activities and organizations under a new term, security-cooperation. (25) Security cooperation encompassed virtually all of the activities conducted by the US military during peacetime with the military forces of other nations, including the activities outlined in table 1. The process of integrating these activities and improving the long-term planning process for security-cooperation programs was significantly advanced in 2003 with the publication of the first DOD Security Cooperation Guidance. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wanted to bring more structure and integration to the various security-cooperation programs and initiatives the United States was conducting around the world, and he wanted to have those programs linked to specific goals and objectives for each region and country rather than the broad "show the flag" engagement activities of the 1990s. The 2003 Security Cooperation Guidance (a classified document not available to the public) provides that focus, and each regional command was tasked to revise its Theater Security Cooperation Plans (now called Theater Security Cooperation Strategies) to match this guidance. (26)

These two structural changes, along with the massive increase in security-assistance funding in 2002, forced USCENTCOM to reevaluate how it was organized to execute security cooperation within the command. Within the region, security-cooperation programs had largely been executed by the US defense attaches assigned to the US embassies as an additional responsibility. With the expansion of the programs in the late 1990s, it became clear that additional personnel were required. Permanent billets had been authorized as early as 1998, but were never filled. Instead, Army officers (usually captains and majors) undergoing training to become foreign area officers (FAO) at the Marshall Center were detailed to the embassies on three- or six-month rotations. (27) While this eased the workload of the defense attaches, the constant rotation of officers undermined continuity and the ability to develop and execute long-term programs. The first full-time security assistance officer (SAO), US Army lieutenant colonel William Lahue, arrived in Almaty in May 2001. USCENTCOM assigned full-time SAOs to Bishkek and Tashkent soon thereafter and in Tajikistan a full-time officer was assigned in the summer of 2004. (28) In Turkmenistan, the relatively small security-cooperation program is still managed by the US defense attache. (29)

By mid-2002, it was clear to the security-cooperation planners in Tampa that simply pushing assistance to the region was counterproductive and they searched for ways to integrate the programs and build long-range plans. Within USCENTCOM, there traditionally had been little synchronization between the IMET and FMF programs, which resided in the logistics directorate, and the military contact program in the plans and policy directorate. In the spring of 2001, even before the new Quadrennial Defense Review introduced the concept of "security cooperation," General Franks reorganized his headquarters staff to combine these programs into a single, expanded "engagement" office to facilitate integration. Still, change came slowly. The normal rotation of staff officers brought in new personnel who were more receptive to the merger of the offices. With his attention more focused on Iraq, General Franks made his last trip to Central Asia in August 2002. After that, there was less pressure on the USCENTCOM staff to find "deliverables" and more time to develop long-term integrated programs. Staff members began developing strategies to harmonize the various programs, including those executed by DTRA that were previously seen as unrelated to security cooperation, as well as some outside of DOD's purview, such as the State Department's EXBS program. (30)

Similarly, the newly established SAOs in the region began to tie together the various programs within their areas of responsibilities. Lieutenant Colonel Lahue in Almaty worked with his counterparts in the Kazakhstani Ministry of Defense to establish a five-year plan of military cooperation. First, he invited a MET from the DISAM at Wright-Patterson AFB to help explain the intricacies of the IMET and FMS programs to the appropriate officials within the Ministry of Defense. This instruction helped ensure the plan would be developed on a realistic understanding of what the United States could provide, how the programs actually worked, and how the MOD could manage those resources within its own national defense budget. (31)

Following this MET, the SAO and the MOD jointly produced the five-year plan based on an understanding of common US and Kazakhstani security interests in the region. This plan was intended to "integrate and focus all available assets ... in a targeted force development effort that meets both U.S. and Kazakhstan! strategic objectives." The plan also cemented the primacy of the development of military capabilities over other considerations: "Support for systemic reform will be focused on those reforms required to meet the force development objectives." (32) The new plan, signed in September 2003, included the following goals:

* Force development

** Develop a NATO-interoperable peacekeeping force

** Develop a ground, maritime, and air-defense force in the Caspian Sea region

** Develop rapid-reaction and special-operations forces

* Systemic Reform

** Officer/NCO personnel management

** Professional noncommissioned officer corps

** Vehicle and equipment maintenance systems

** English-language training system (33)

Similar efforts occurred in the other Central Asian states. In 2002 Lt Col Jon Chicky, the USCENTCOM desk officer for Uzbekistan, developed a security-assistance strategy for Tashkent that meshed FMF, EXBS, and IMET over a five-year period in such a way that the armed forces of Uzbekistan, including troops from the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Emergency Situations, Committee for Protection of State Borders, and National Security Service, would be "transformed from legacy Soviet mechanized/motorized force to a professional, lighter, and mobile force eventually interoperable with U.S./NATO and able to defend the nation from external and certain internal threats." His plan, which was approved by USCENTCOM and the Uzbekistani Ministry of Defense, focused on six critical efforts:

* Expanding and equipping Uzbekistani special forces

* Improving communications interoperability within the Uzbekistani armed forces and with US and NATO

* Enhanced training/planning by creating a modeling and simulation capability

* Creating a professional officer corps and officer personnel management system

* Creating a professional noncommissioned officer corps

* Improving infrastructure and capabilities to secure borders (34)

By April 2004, Lieutenant Colonel Chicky's strategy had been turned into a five-year security-cooperation plan. The Ministry of Defense, which had participated in the development of the plan and in principle approved it, declined to sign it in order "to maintain flexibility;" although the SAO and MOD planners referred to it when coordinating security-assistance activities. Eventually the disruption in relations after Andijon made the document irrelevant. (35)

Similarly, in November 2003, the Marshall Center hosted a conference in Dushanbe to help the Tajikistani army build an unclassified military strategy which was used by the SAO to help coordinate assistance. This conference helped the SAO and Tajikistani MOD create a five-year bilateral plan, but this document was never signed and eventually was abandoned by the United States because of lack of follow-through by the Tajikistani MOD. (36) By the end of 2004, a five-year bilateral plan had been established with Kyrgyzstan. (37) These plans were useful for focusing security-cooperation efforts, but they often had the unintended consequence of being perceived by the MODs as promises rather than intentions, despite the caveats by the SAOs that executing the programs was dependent on annual FMF and IMET funding.

These organizational and planning changes further increased the integration of the military contact events and the security-assistance programs, particularly FMS, and USCENTCOM began planning and executing additional activities to be mutually supporting. For example, in 2004 the Montana National Guard hosted a series of military contact events on developing non-commissioned officer training syllabi to support the establishment of the NCO Academy in Koi Tash, built using FMF funds. Likewise, the Air Force sponsored a series of visits to C-130 bases in Arkansas and Kentucky to highlight the capabilities of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. The Kazakhstani air force was interested in acquiring several through the EDA program. (38) However, there was no apparent integration with other programs such as those conducted by DTRA. The organizational and planning adjustments also served to focus US security-cooperation activities on concrete aspects of building military capabilities rather than on less tangibles.

Military Capabilities

The 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review first used the term security cooperation and also marked the shift in emphasis for security-cooperation programs. Unlike the perspectives of the 1990s, there was no discussion about the utility of security-cooperation tools to promote less tangible objectives such as military democratization. Published just weeks after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the new focus was on building military capabilities (or partner capacity, as it was later to be called) in allied and partner nations to deter aggressors and prosecute the war on terrorism:
   A primary objective of U.S. security cooperation will be to help
   allies and friends create favorable balances of military power in
   critical areas of the world to deter aggression or coercion.
   Security cooperation serves as an important means for linking DOD's
   strategic direction with those of U.S. allies and friends.... It
   requires that U.S. forces train and operate with allies and friends
   in peacetime as they would operate in war. This includes enhancing
   interoperability and peacetime preparations for coalition
   operations, as well as increasing allied participation in
   activities such as joint and combined training and
   experimentation.... A particular aim of DOD's security cooperation
   efforts will be to ensure access, interoperability, and
   intelligence cooperation, while expanding the range of pre-conflict
   options available to counter coercive threats, deter aggression, or
   favorably prosecute war on U.S. terms. (39)

President Bush's 2002 National Security Strategy further emphasized countering terrorism as the primary role of security cooperation, and the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review reaffirmed this approach. State Department justifications for FMF became specific in requesting funds to build military capabilities, primarily counterterrorism and border security forces, in Central Asia. The 2005 request for Kazakhstan, for example, stated additional funding:
   will continue to enhance Kazakhstan's capability to combat
   terrorism in the region through security enhancements and
   counterterrorism support ... will continue to provide assistance to
   the Peacekeeping Battalion and help support development of a rapid
   reaction brigade near the Caspian oil field in Atyrau ... *will
   enhance Kazakhstan's capability to respond to major terrorist
   threats to oil platforms or borders, while also enhancing its
   interoperability with NATO, U.S., and Coalition forces ... will
   support the purchase of interoperable communications equipment,
   basic individual soldier equipment, vehicles, and power generator
   systems. (40)

Despite this shift, however, funding for FMF continued to drop, from $16.090 million in 2003 to an estimated $5.500 million in 2007. Much of this drop is attributable to the elimination of FMF funding for Uzbekistan, but the funding for Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan also slowed, totaling together only $2 million in 2007. Only for Kazakhstan did the funding remain steady. FMF to Almaty averaged $3.500 million each year from 2003 to 2007.

As a result of the large FMF allocations the previous year, deliveries reached a new peak in 2003, with over $42 million worth of equipment delivered and construction completed. Uzbekistan was the primary recipient, with almost $34 million worth of communications gear and other items provided. Tajikistan and Turkmenistan received deliveries under the FMS system for the first time in 2003. Ashgabat first received FMF in 1997, but, other than funding the transportation of the patrol boat provided under the EDA program in 2000, chose not to use it until 2002. Much of Kazakhstan's FMF was used to build barracks at Atyrau, which opened in July 2004, but it also received five HMMWVs in August 2004, supplementing the two it received in December 2001. (41) Almaty also advanced another step when it requested, and received, two UH-1 Huey helicopters through the EDA program, with refurbishment to the HUEY-II configuration provided through FMF. Likewise, Ministry of Defense officials initiated serious discussions on the possibilities of acquiring used C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, which would represent the first ever transfer of fixed-wing military aircraft to a post-Soviet state. Although the aircraft would be provided through the EDA program, Kazakhstan would be expected to absorb all costs for refurbishment, sustainment, and training through its national funds, another first for Central Asia. The HMMWVs, helicopters, and transport aircraft are intended to improve Kazakhstan's capabilities to rapidly respond to threats in any part of its vast territory, and, if completed, would dramatically improve the capabilities of its mobile forces.

Likewise, approximately a third of the military contact events also continued to emphasize the development of military capabilities, but they expanded in scope to include interaction with a wider variety of military and nonmilitary units on an increasingly large set of specialties. An increasing number of these events (anywhere from 10 to 40 percent of the number planned) focused on counterinsurgency, border security, counter-narcotics, and aviation capabilities rather than on the previous specialties of peacekeeping and search and rescue. They began to more frequently include visits and contacts with nonmilitary units such as the Ministry of the Environment and Emergency Situations, Border Guards, Ministry of the Interior, and the National (presidential) Guard. (42) Even the Marshall Center adjusted to this new environment, adding a course named Program on Terrorism and Security Studies to match the previous course that addressed national security issues in democratic states. In 2004 and 2005 nine students from Central Asia attended. (43)

As combat operations in Afghanistan began to wind down, US special operations forces were once again available to participate in bilateral exercises and training events in Central Asia. In some cases, the units came directly from Afghanistan to attend. The third special operations exercise in Kyrgyzstan since September 2001 began in January 2003 and was known as Balance Knight. Lasting a month, it then transitioned to Balance Knife, which included the 6th Special Operations Squadron. Balance Knife focused on mountain warfare, navigation and communication, and medical training, the latter was provided by the South Korean medical contingent at Manas. US forces also provided a C-130 aircraft from Manas for airborne training. Five SOFEXs were planned for Uzbekistan in 2003, although some were later postponed or cancelled. (44)

Proliferation Prevention

The changes in the proliferation prevention efforts in Central Asia must also be seen in the context of increasing the capabilities of the indigenous forces. While activities designed to destroy nuclear-, chemical-, and biological-weapons infrastructure continued, the real focus of these programs almost completely shifted toward improving the ability of these nations to secure and control their own borders. There was less of a focus on eliminating facilities and more emphasis on providing equipment and training to border forces. The war in Afghanistan brought attention to the porous borders in Central Asia, but it took a year for this to manifest in additional resources for the proliferation prevention programs. Funding for the ICP, which had been bumped up to $1.200 million in 2002, more than doubled to $2.890 million in 2003, with roughly equal amounts going to projects in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Fourteen training events were held in 2002 and another 12 in 2003. In Uzbekistan this training culminated in an integrated exercise held in Chirchik in October and November 2004. Soon thereafter, the disruption in Uzbekistani-American relations impacted the program and Tashkent cancelled the remaining scheduled courses. In 2005 and 2006 the focus of the ICP shifted toward Kazakhstan and new, more successful, efforts were initiated in Tajikistan.

DTRA also initiated a new proliferation prevention program through CTR in 2003. The Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation Prevention Initiative (WMD-PPI) appears to have many of the same objectives as ICP, EXBS, and other efforts designed to improve border security throughout the former Soviet Union. Reminiscent of the export control efforts executed by the CTR program in the early 1990s, WMD-PPI goals in Central Asia include improving Uzbekistan's ability to detect radiological materials at key border crossing points and providing surveillance radars, communications equipment, and small vessels to Kazakhstan to improve its ability to monitor the Caspian Sea. (45)

Central Asian border security was becoming more important for another reason as well. The growing recognition that the drug trade in Afghanistan was undermining the security and economic stability in the Central Asian states led to additional funding under DOD's CN program to improve border security, interdiction capabilities, and special operations forces in the region. Managed from the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, this funding had actually started on a small scale in 2001 in Uzbekistan, with $230 thousand provided for programs that year and a similar amount was offered in 2002. The massive explosion in the drug trade coming from Afghanistan, however, drove DOD planners to funnel over $6.500 million to Uzbekistan for counternarcotics programs in 2003, with an additional $500 thousand to Tajikistan and $351 thousand for regional programs within Central Asia. Funding dropped in 2004, but spiked again in 2005 to over $20 million, with large amounts offered to Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. By this time political events in Uzbekistan had caught up with the counternarcotics program, and only $47 thousand had been spent before the United States temporarily halted the program.

In 2006 DOD requested over $55 million in CN funding to support a wide range of border security improvements throughout Central Asia, including the construction of facilities, provision of equipment, and training and conferences. In Kazakhstan, CN funding would provide the border security forces with three rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIB) and improve the port facilities at Bautino. In Kyrgyzstan, it would be used to improve three border crossings, renovate garrisons for the Panther and Scorpion Special Forces units, and provide a small amount of customs equipment and a variety of training courses and conferences. In Tajikistan, which used CN funding in 2005 to initiate a communications upgrade and establish a border crossing at the Nizhn-Pianj Bridge. Additional funding would be used to complete the communications project, establish two additional border crossings, and refurbish several border outposts. In Turkmenistan, two-border crossing points, one on the Turkmen-Iran border and another on the Turkmen-Afghan border, were established in 2005; funding in 2006 would complete an interagency communications equipment project, establish three more border crossings, and provide training through a combined exercise with the Nevada National Guard. Should additional funding be granted for Uzbekistan, it would be used to provide RHIBs and border sensors. (46)

With a proposed 2006 budget of $55 million, counter-narcotics activities are now the single largest element of the US security-cooperation program in Central Asia. In fact, border security-whether those efforts are to prevent narcotics WMD smuggling, human trafficking, or terrorist movement--has become the single most important objective of US security-cooperation efforts in Central Asia. It is not clear whether the establishment of this priority resulted from a deliberate policy decision or simply reflects of the relative strength of the various bureaucracies in the US national security establishment. Border security programs are being planned and executed by various offices, but they appear to lack the integration and synchronization necessary to be most effective. Yet these programs appear to be largely discrete and conducted by various organizations within DOD (such as DTRA, OSD, and USCENTCOM). Border security also requires integration.

Regional Cooperation

Promoting regional cooperation continued to be important, if less emphasized. Disaster response and environmental management activities and exercises maintained the contacts established between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The Marshall Center courses and conferences continued to promote collaborative solutions to regional issues such as disaster preparedness, narcotics trafficking, and Caspian Sea security.

Two new exercises, however, were also established to support this goal. Along with its regular Combined Endeavor exercise, which has included participants from Central Asia since 1999, USEUCOM had been conducting RESCUER/MEDCUER exercises for several years "in the spirit of the NATO PfP program. The scenario was based on a mass casualty situation, RESCUER addressed brigade-level responses to a humanitarian disaster while MEDCUER provided field training for medical personnel. Beginning in 2005, USEUCOM invited some of the Central Asian states to participate. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan sent delegations (Uzbekistan declined), in September 2005, to Vaziani in the Republic of Georgia for the event. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are expected to participate in RESCUER 06, scheduled for August 2006 in Yerevan, Armenia.

The more significant initiative was the reestablishment of the Regional Cooperation exercises in 2004. The last one occurred in 2001 and is often referred to as CENTRASBAT 01. It had been held as a command post exercise at the US training facilities in Einsiedlerhof, Germany. Regional Cooperation 04 followed that model with a battalion-level command-post exercise with a disaster-response scenario in early September 2004. At the same facilities. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan participated while Turkmenistan sent observers. Uzbekistan declined to participate because of the presence of Pakistani delegates.

US exercise coordinators noted there was little interaction between the Central Asian delegations during the first planning conference held in January 2004. Each delegation attempted to work directly and exclusively with the US coordinators and all questioned the presence of the Pakistanis. The Pakistani delegation even questioned their own participation in what they saw as a "Central Asian" exercise. The US coordinators were surprised but pleased when the environment changed dramatically but inexplicably during the March 2004 planning conference--all of the delegations were enthusiastic about working with each other, and the exercise proceeded in September with apparent collaboration between the participating delegations. (47)

The 2004 exercise highlighted the need for increased crossborder coordination through a regional coordination center (RCC), which was established for the 2005 exercise. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan participated, while

Turkmenistan, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates were invited to send observers. Held at the Joint Warfighting Center in Suffolk, Virginia, in July 2005, Regional Cooperation addressed operational-level tasks and relationships, as opposed to the tactical focus of the previous exercise, in a scenario that emphasized border security, illegal migration, narcotics trafficking, and consequence management. The need for the RCC was validated as was the need to establish formal diplomatic agreements between the nations in the region to permit the exchange of information in the event of an emergency (fig.6).


The 2006 exercise, planned for July in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, will build on these lessons and will be open to Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain. (48) Based on the experiences in the Regional Cooperation exercises, in March 2006 USCENTCOM announced its intention to establish a regional disaster preparedness center in Central Asia, likely in Kazakhstan, in the next few years. (49)


Democratization ceased to be a stated primary objective for the security-cooperation programs in Central Asia, but, legacy efforts in several countries ensured it remained an important element. Over 20 percent of the military contact events were dedicated to officer and noncommissioned officer professional development. A significant portion of those events, however, consisted of exchange visits by military academy cadets. There is probably some long-term value in having junior officer candidates from Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan visit the United States to experience, if only for a brief period, the opportunities available to their American counterparts. On the other hand, little linkage to the US security-cooperation objectives is seen in having US cadets visit Central Asia. Further, there is not now an established way to measure and evaluate the success of this kind of program. The majority of the military contact events for officer and noncommissioned officer professional development, however, addresses the more appropriate issues of establishing professional forces in these nations. The importance of these programs vary by country. While a quarter to a third of the events in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan were dedicated to professional development topics, only three such events were planned for Tajikistan out of the 48 total events planned for 2004-2005. In Kyrgyzstan, noncommissioned officer professional development also resulted in Bishkek's first use of FMF for construction: over $5.700 million was dedicated to upgrade facilities at Koi Tash for use as a joint brigade and professional development training centers. (50)

Likewise, approximately 15 percent of the military contact events supported disaster management, environmental security, or medical issues, which support democratization objectives by promoting appropriate civil-military relationships. More recently, the military contact plans for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have included exchanges on public affairs in the military, which promote US objectives of defense transparency. (51)

Similarly, the increase in IMET funds beginning in 2002 continued for the next two years. Over $10 million in IMET was authorized in these three years, more than had been provided to the region between 1993 and 2001. This massive increase in funding brought a corresponding increase in the number of Central Asian defense personnel attending US military courses-over 650, more than twice as many as had attended US courses previously. Eighty-four students, including 54 from Kazakhstan, attended English-language training at DLIELC in 2004. In an impressive use of its security-assistance funding, Kazakhstan requires its personnel to attend intensive training at its own Military Institute of Foreign Languages, established in part with US security-assistance funding, to achieve basic English-language proficiency before traveling to the United States. This has reduced the duration of each student's overseas tour and has permitted sending twice as many students to DLIELC. (52)

Other training and education programs showed a similar increase through 2003 and 2004. Attendance at the Marshall Center jumped to 104 in 2004, twice as many as had attended each year from 1998 to 2002. The Central Asian states continued to receive quotas at the mid-level US war colleges. In 2003, for the first time, Kazakhstan was offered a quota at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF), a prestigious senior-level war college under the National Defense University. Almaty chose Col Muslim Altynbayev, the first Kazakhstani defense attache in Washington, to attend the course. The following year, Kazakhstan received an invitation to send an officer to the National War College (NWC). Lt Col Merey Bisenov, who had previously attended Air Command and Staff College in 1997-1998, graduated from the NWC in the summer of 2005. Only two previous ALP scholarships had been offered in Central Asia, to Uzbekistan in 1998 and 2002. In 2003, as a result of Central Asian support for US operations in Afghanistan, ALP invitations were offered to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan (which declined), and Uzbekistan. A similar number of invitations were offered in 2004 to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan (which declined), and Uzbekistan.

Current Status

The United States need for bases and relationships in Central Asia brought an immediate spike in many aspects of security cooperation, but the needed resources were not long sustained. Within a year, IMET- and FMF-funding levels began to drop, and they have now reached a new, lower equilibrium. But the funding for the counternarcotics program rose dramatically in 2005 and now constitutes the single largest funding source for security-cooperation programs in Central Asia. The objective for most programs is now to improve the security of the borders in Central Asia, for counternarcotics, counterproliferation, or counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations (fig. 7).

At the beginning of 2006, US efforts in the region range from working in a "hostile environment" in Uzbekistan to a steady, relatively integrated approach to Kazakhstan. An assessment of the challenges these programs face in planning and execution follows.


Michael J. McCarthy

Lieutenant Colonel, USAF


(1.) Jim Nichol, Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, CRS Issue Brief for Congress (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 2004), 3.

(2.) General Franks also understood that the price had just gone up. Prior to September 2001, he had initiated general discussions with Uzbekistani

president Karimov on the potential use of Karshi-Khanabad. General Franks was aware that Karimov knew the value of the airbase had gone up dramatically. Gen Tommy Franks with Malcolm McConnell, American Soldier (New York: Regan Books, 2004), 256.

(3.) Payment for the use of the airfields was handled in different ways. As Manas was a civilian airfield, Kyrgyzstan receives both a rental payment, approximately $2 million per year, and a payment for each takeoff and landing. Some sources estimate this at $5-$7 thousand per event. As the air bases in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were primarily military facilities, Dushanbe and Tashkent received payments through the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), intended to offset costs that would otherwise have not been incurred had the country not been supporting US operations in the war on terrorism. In 2002 Tajikistan received $2.399 million which was used to repair the runway at Dushanbe ostensibly damaged by US aircraft, and Uzbekistan received $15.747 million which was used to upgrade facilities at Karshi-Khanabad and purchase other equipment through the FMS system. In 2005 Uzbekistan received an additional payment of $22.985 million which was the subject of much controversy. Although the proposal was developed and approved before the Andijon incident, it was paid afterwards. Many outside of the Bush administration advocated that the payment should be withheld to ensure Tashkent was not rewarded for the situation. The positions of the Defense and State Departments were that the US government should always pay its bills as a matter of principle. Author with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, March 2006; Bruce Pannier, "Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek Presents New AirBase Terms to U.S.-Led Coalition," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 25 January 2006, =2006&id=E377D17F-622A-41E0-B9EA-1C9D4698B453 (accessed 26 January 2006); and Goldstein, "Beyond the Steppe" (chap.4, note 28).

(4.) Author with former US Central Command (USCENTCOM) staff members, correspondence, March 2006; and "Uzbekistan: Russian Agency Reports on US General's Meetings with Top Leaders," Moscow ITAR-TASS, 23 January 2002.

(5.) Foreign Military Training and DOD Engagement Activities of Interest, vol. 1, FY 1999 and 2000 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2000), http:// (accessed 8 March 2006).

(6.) The Marshall Center also hosted two conferences regarding Tajikistan prior to 2001. In August 1999, in support of the first post-civil-war national elections, it hosted Building Political Parties in Tajikistan: Cooperation and Competition, the only forum that included all of the opposition-party leaders, and in April 2000, in support of post-civil-war economic development, it hosted Building Institutional and Economic Foundations in Tajikistan. Author with George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, correspondence, February 2006.

(7.) Goldstein, "Making the Most" 85 (chap. 3, note 52),

(8.) Ahmed Rashid, "Western Powers Bolster Tajikistan as it Faces Renewed Threats to Stability and Security," Central Asia--Caucasus Analyst, 23 May 2001, (accessed 23 March 2006).

(9.) "United States-Uzbekistan Declaration on the Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Framework," Embassy of the United States, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 12 March 2002, &mid=218&overview=457 (accessed 8 March 2006).

(10.) "Nevada National Guard State Partnership Program in Turkmenistan," The National Guard Bureau Office of International Affairs, http://www.ngb (accessed 8 March 2006).

(11.) Foreign Military Training and DOD Engagement Activities of Interest, vol. 1, FY 2002 and 2003 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2003), (accessed 8 March 2006).

(12.) Sara Bette Franken, "Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellows Program," The DISAM Journal of International Security Assistance Management 26, no. 1 (Fall 2003), 12; Office of the Secretary of Defense correspondence (see chap. 5, note 3); Office of the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations correspondence, March and April 2006; and author with the Air Force Electronic Systems Center, correspondence, February and March 2006.

(13.) USCENTCOM correspondence (see chap. 5, note 4).

(14.) "6th Special Operations Squadron Factsheet," 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs Office, factsheet.asp?id=3492 (accessed 8 March 2006); and James Doran, "Americans Covertly Training Kazakh Troops," Times of London, 30 March 2002.

(15.) Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with Eurasia, FY 2002 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2003), (accessed 14 March 2006).

(16.) Elizabeth Wishnick, Strategic Consequences of the Iraq War: U.S. Security Interests in Central Asia Reassessed (Carlisle, PA: US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, 2004), 2-4.

(17.) Defense Intelligence Agency, correspondence (see chap. 3, note 7).

(18.) Jeffrey Donovan, "U.S.: State Department Releases Human Rights Report Criticizing New Allies," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 5 March 2002, (accessed 28 April 2006).

(19.) Ata Khaitov, "A New Role for Russia: Niazov's Best Friend," The Jamestown Foundation Russia and Eurasia Review 2, no. 3 (4 February 2003), 1-2.

(20.) Adam Ward, ed., "Uzbekistan Casts Out America: Setback or Opportunity for Washington?" IISS Strategic Comments 11, no. 6 (August 2005), 1-2.

(21.) Lt Col Dan Groeschen, Chief, Central and South Asia Branch, US CENTCOM, interviewed by the author, March 2006.

(22.) Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), 30-153.

(23.) Author with former USCENTCOM personnel, correspondence, April 2006.

(24.) Ata Khaitov, "Central Asian Responses to the Iraq Crisis: Hope and Fears," The Jamestown Foundation Russia and Eurasia Review 2, no. 5 (4 March 2003); and Wishnick, Strategic Consequences, 14-17 (see chap 5, note 16).

(25.) Quadrennial Defense Review Report (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2001), 11.

(26.) Thomas S. Szayna, Adam Grissom, Jefferson P. Marquis, ThomasDurell Young, Brian Rosen, and Yuna Huh Wong, US Army Security Cooperation: Toward Improved Planning and Management (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2004), 17.

(27.) Trip Report (see chap. 3, note 15).

(28.) Lahue, "Security Assistance in Kazakhstan," 10 (see chap. 4, note 36).

(29.) Groeschen interview (see chap. 5, note 21).

(30.) Author with former USCENTCOM staff members, correspondence, September 2005 and March 2006; and Priest, The Mission, 73 (see chap. 4, note 1).

(31.) Lahue, "Security Assistance in Kazakhstan" (see chap. 4, note 36); Craig M. Brandt, and Mark T. Ahles, "Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management Mobile Education Team Travels to Kazakhstan," DISAM Journal of International Security Assistance Management 25, no. 1 (Fall 2002/Winter 2003), 19.

(32.) Lahue, "Security Assistance in Kazakhstan," 13 (see chap. 4, note 36).

(33.) Ibid., 13-14; and "Kazakhstan to Purchase Military Hardware in US," Moscow ITAR-TASS, 20 February 2004.

(34.) CCJ5-E [USCENTCOM Joint Staff Office-5-E, Security Cooperation Division], Issue Paper, "Uzbekistan's Five-Year Security Assistance Plan," undated.

(35.) Author with the US Security Assistance Office, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, correspondence, April 2006.

(36.) Author with the Marshall Center, correspondence, April 2006.

(37.) "High-Level Kyrgyzstan-US Defense Talks Outline Military Cooperation to 2010," Bishkek Kabar News Agency, 5 October 2004.

(38.) Groeschen interview, March 2006 (see chap. 5, note 21).

(39.) Quadrennial Defense Review, 11 (see chap. 5, note 25).

(40.) Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2005 (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2004), 371.

(41.) "U.S. Government Aid Helps Defense Ministry Build Barracks in Atyrau," Embassy of the United States, Almaty, Kazakhstan, 23 July 2004, (accessed 8 March 2006); "U.S. Government Donates Five Humvee Ambulances to Kazakhstan's Peacekeeping Battalion," Embassy of the United States, Almaty, Kazakhstan, 17 August 2004, (accessed 8 March 2006).

(42.) USCENTCOM correspondence (see chap. 5, note 30).

(43.) "Program on Terrorism and Security Studies," George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, lang-en/static/xdocs/coll/static/ptss/ptss-overview-en.pdf (accessed 28 April 2006).

(44.) "Bishkek Hosts US-Kyrgyzstani Military Exercises," Moscow Interfax, 17 March 2003; "US-Kyrgyz Military Exercises Underway in Bishkek," News Agency Prima, 19 March 2003; Roger M. McDermott, Countering Global Terrorism: Developing the Antiterrorist Capabilities of the Central Asian Militaries (Carlisle, PA: US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, 2004), 22.

(45.) Senate, Testimony of Ms. Lisa Bronson, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Technology Security Policy and Counterproliferation, Before the Senate Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, 108th Congress, 2d sess., 10 March 2004, http://armed (accessed 28 April 2006).

(46.) Office of the Secretary of Defense correspondence (see chap. 3, note 55).

(47.) Lt Col Dan Groeschen, chief, Central and South Asia Branch, US CENTCOM, interviewed by author, September 2005; and USCENTCOM correspondence (see chap. 3, note 55).

(48.) Ibid.

(49.) Joshua Kucera, "CENTCOM Sets up Disaster Management Centre," Janes' Defense Weekly, 1 March 2006.

(50.) USCENTCOM correspondence (see chap. 5, note 30).

(51.) Ibid.

(52.) Author with DLIELC, correspondence, January 2006; and "Kazakhstan's Defense Ministry to Set up Language Institute," Almaty InterfaxKazakhstan, 20 July 2004.

Chapter 6

Constraints and Limitations

The system is badly broken..... We use chewing gum and bailing wire to keep it together.

--Gen Anthony Zinni Commander, US Central Command

Security cooperation is an inherently complex and difficult undertaking. Regardless of the countries involved, security-cooperation programs require years of effort and vast amounts of resources to have an impact, whether that be improved relationships or enhanced military capabilities. Often these programs must overcome significant cultural and language differences between the two armed forces, and those undertaken by the US military must accommodate the overwhelming differences between the size, capabilities, and available resources of the two forces. Beyond the general limitations of time and cost, each of the various security-cooperation activities has specific strengths and weaknesses that must be taken into account when building programs. And with little or no effort to measure and clinically analyze the results, it is difficult to best allocate resources (including canceling efforts that do not measure up) or adjust programs to maximize results. These challenges are inherent in all security-assistance programs, and have been part of all such efforts since Lend-Lease began in 1940.

There are other limitations, however, that are unique to US security-cooperation programs in Central Asia. Some of these are a function of the Central Asian environment and exist largely as a result of the history and development of these nations over the past fifteen years. Others are a function of US policies toward the region and the manner in which those policies have been executed through security-cooperation programs. These constraints and limitations--environmental, bureaucratic and policy, and programmatic--as well as thoughts on how to minimize or eliminate them, are addressed in this chapter.

Environmental Constraints

Despite the promise of the early 1990s, the Central Asian states have not made significant progress on political and economic reform, which directly and indirectly limits security-cooperation efforts. The population in all five states enjoys considerably fewer political freedoms than they did as Soviet citizens during the last few years of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' existence. Of course, there are degrees of control: Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are the most authoritarian states in the region, followed closely by Tajikistan, while Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are the least repressed. (1)

Lack of Political and Economic Reform

The lack of progress on political reform also creates a direct tension between the US objectives of promoting human rights and improving military capabilities. US policy has been consistent in pressing for greater political and economic freedoms while providing support on security issues. In theory, these two objectives are mutually reinforcing and security-cooperation programs can help achieve both. But critics have charged that US security cooperation in the region may have the unintended consequence of delaying political reform, particularly in the most autocratic countries. Human rights activists have three concerns over the increased US presence and programs since 11 September 2001:
   "Antiterrorism" can serve as a convenient blanket excuse for those
   governments to act aggressively even against opponents who have
   little or nothing to do with terrorism; incoming resources can
   artificially extend the life of governments that had been close to
   failure; and the US government, with troops on the ground and bases
   and other resources to protect, could oppose political change that
   could jeopardize its investment. (2)

While the first concern has been validated by the increasingly repressive tactics in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan over the past few years, it is unclear whether US assistance has been indirectly propping up the most repressive governments. However, it is clear that the third concern has not panned out. The US forces in Kyrgyzstan played no role in the 2005 Tulip Revolution and US policy was to support a peaceful resolution of the unrest in a legal manner consistent with the desires of the Kyrgyz people. The status of the base at Manas apparently did not play a significant role in US efforts to find a solution. Furthermore, the United States was willing to risk eviction from Uzbekistan rather than to excuse Karimov's repression against the demonstrators in Andijon.

Beyond the tension between human rights and security assistance, the lack of political reform undermines the ability to use security cooperation to promote military reform that is necessary to create an environment that fundamentally accepts the values promoted by the United States. These include civilian control of the military and respect for human rights. Political systems are the determinants of the structure of civil-military relations in a society and authoritarian and democratic political systems produce different forms of civilian control and military professionalism. (3) Most studies on military reform in post-communist societies assume the desire for political reform is a necessary precondition. Experiences in Eastern Europe are mixed, however. In Bulgaria military reform largely stalled until 1997 when the pro-reform Union of Democratic Forces led by Ivan Kostov assumed power. Conversely, some observers suggest Ukrainian military reform proceeded without corresponding political progress. (4) Most analysts would probably agree that reform must proceed on all fronts. Reform in only one arena (political, economic, or military) is unlikely to last or have significant impact without corresponding reform in the others. Despite adopting some of the trappings of military professionalism, such as the elimination of conscription, institution of civilian oversight, and the establishment of a senior noncommissioned officer corps, these countries will not fully achieve democratic military professionalism unless there is concomitant political reform.

The slowness of political reform has also tended to perpetuate the legacy of Soviet suspicion toward Westerners. Often Central Asian officers, particularly those trained in Soviet or Russian military institutions, are still hesitant to work with Western officers, particularly when they know their own counterintelligence services are monitoring their activities. This suspicion pervades the bureaucracy as well. As previously mentioned the defense ministries in Central Asia--adopting the practice of most countries--had established specific departments for handling external relations with foreign defense attaches. These departments, however, were tightly controlled by counterintelligence and saw their role as controlling or limiting contact. The officers assigned to these departments tended to treat security-cooperation activities as protocol matters requiring formal written requests for information, meetings, or contact events. These requests were translated into Russian or the local language and sent through the bureaucracy to the appropriate staff organization or unit, and when the response returned it was translated back into English. Setting up meetings could take weeks or months, and often attempts to adjust the dates of a military contact event would usually result in a cancellation. In Kazakhstan this issue was only resolved in 2003 with the establishment of an international cooperation center with full authority to work directly with foreign officials on security-assistance matters. (5)

In Uzbekistan, however, the authoritarian rule of Pres. Islam Karimov severely restricts the interaction between government officials and their US counterparts. In the words of one senior Uzbek official: "We don't know from one day to the next what the president is going to order us to do in changing foreign or domestic policy. Yesterday's enemies are today's friends, and there is little coherent advice we can give when we are not asked, and policy changes without reason or justification." (6) USCENTCOM security-cooperation planners state they have a good relationship with their counterparts, who they describe as cordial, hospitable, and friendly--but also note that in meetings, the Uzbekistanis are guarded and hesitant to discuss certain issues for fear of "getting on the wrong topic." (7)

The more authoritarian regimes in Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan have established strict controls over US security-cooperation programs. All are cautious about allowing impressionable junior officers to have too much contact with the United States through security-cooperation programs. Pres. Sapamurat Niyazov closely regulates opportunities for military officers to attend training programs, contact events, and exercises outside of Turkmenistan. Officers in the MOD have stated Niyazov personally approves each request, a process that requires excessive staffing and often results in disapprovals. Many invitations are never forwarded to the presidential of fice but are either ignored or politely declined by lower-level officials. (8) This restriction is not unique to military-cooperation programs--Niyazov has banned the teaching of foreign languages, including English, in public schools and has prevented students from accepting scholarships to foreign universities. (9)

The same is true in Tajikistan, where Pres. Emomali Rahmonov must personally approve the absence of any officer from the country. Over the past five years, several Uzbekistani students attending English-language training in San Antonio have deserted, some claiming political asylum in the United States. As a result, President Karimov has also imposed overt controls on his military officers, refusing to permit any to attend academic programs in the United States and significantly restricting the quantity and type of military contact events with the United States. Since 2005, President Karimov has eliminated all military contact events for young officers conducted outside Uzbekistan to ensure they will not be influenced by Western ideals. (10)

The political and economic situation in these countries, particularly in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, is evident in the low pay and poor funding for military units and personnel. These factors foster pervasive corruption in these countries, including corruption within the military forces, which negatively impacts security-cooperation efforts both directly and indirectly. Power cables for the computers in the US-provided language labs in Kyrgyzstan were cut to make extension cords for other equipment. Some US-provided equipment is simply stolen by the personnel in the units and sold on the black market. Officers in Kyrgyzstan, for example, have loaded US uniforms in the back of their cars and sold them in the markets in Osh. The US SAO in Dushanbe considered a program to provide uniforms to a Tajikistani Army unit a success when she returned to the unit months later and saw the soldiers still wearing them. US efforts to build a noncommissioned officer professional development program in Kyrgyzstan suffered a setback when almost an entire class of students were recalled to their units well before the training had been completed. The commanders of these units use the soldiers as contract labor, and the length of the course was undermining their profits. (11) The indirect impact arises when the US military presence is seen to be fostering corruption. The US contracts for fuel deliveries to Manas in

Kyrgyzstan, for example, are reportedly controlled by family members of Pres. Kurmanbek Bakiyev, and the frozen food deliveries in Uzbekistan were managed by a member of President Karimov's family. (12)
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Title Annotation:p. 71-116
Author:McCarthy, Michael J.
Publication:Walker Papers
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2007
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