Shopping Around

By Sebastian Sprenger / January 6, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Pentagon officials today proposed new language for existing defense acquisition guidelines that would enable the procurement of supplies from certain Asian countries.

The language effectively would implement two waivers granted by Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn last summer. The waivers were about DOD procurement regulations that normally prohibit the selection of contractors from the so-called "SC/CASA" region, which stands for South Caucasus and Central and South Asia.

The countries covered are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Closer economic ties with these nations are necessary because Northern Distribution Network supply routes to Afghanistan run through them, Lynn wrote in a July 9, 2009, memo.

"Buying local products and services will demonstrate that the United States values the support of countries in the region with which the United States intends to develop a lasting partnership to stabilize Afghanistan," he added.

Some of the SC/CASA governments have a history poor human rights records, with reports of government-sponsored torture and repression described in the State Department's 2008 Human Rights Report.