Congressional Briefing - April 3, 2006

U.S. Interests in Central Asia: Policy Priorities and Military Roles

Presented by Olga Oliker, RAND Senior International Policy Analyst

Monday, April 3, 2006 from 12:00-1:30 P.M.
419 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Lunch Will Be Provided

The United States viewed its interests in Central Asia as relatively limited during the first ten years after Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan became independent, sovereign states. However, after the September 11, 2001, attacks, the perceived geopolitical significance of Central Asia was greatly enhanced, and U.S. policies and priorities toward the region were considerably transformed.

Ms. Olga Oliker will present the recommendations of a recent RAND report, titled U.S. Interests in Central Asia: Policy Priorities and Military Roles, which argues that while Central Asia is, indeed, important to U.S. interests, the U.S. military's role in Central Asia should be small compared to economic, political, and social efforts aimed to foster development throughout the Central Asian region. Instead the U.S. military's role should be limited to supporting these efforts, when relevant, while ensuring a low-level continued capacity to operate within the region if this should prove necessary.