The Pentagon appears set to spend over $40 million on security infrastructure projects in Central Asia. The money for the building spree will come from US Central Command’s counter-narcotics fund.
Notices published on the US-government’s Federal Business Opportunities website, FBO.gov, indicate that Pentagon dollars will go toward the construction of military training centers in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, and Karatog, Tajikistan, and also a canine training facility and helicopter hangar near Almaty, Kazakhstan. In addition, the Pentagon will fund border-crossing checkpoints in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and refurbish existing border outposts in Kyrgyzstan.
According to a pre-solicitation posted on June 25, the Pentagon wants to construct “a fully functional border crossing checkpoint” in Uzbekistan with the option of “two additional checkpoints at separate locations” at a cost of up to $10 million.
“Work includes but is not limited to the construction of a primary facility to include an administrative building, canopies, a truck search building, kennel, weighbridge, entry/gate, disinfection station, and furnishings. Supporting facilities will be required for electrical services, water, sewer, paving, curbs, and gutters,” the pre-solicitation adds.
In a bid to keep the exact details of the project under wraps, the “solicitation will not be provided to subcontractors, suppliers, contract brokers, or vendors” and may only be accessed via a password protected website. An award is expected to be made in mid-September and the winner would have a performance period of 365 days.
In Turkmenistan, a pre-solicitation issued on June 21 calls for “a fully functional border crossing checkpoint near Sarahs,” worth up to $5 million. Sarahs is on the Turkmen-Iranian border. An award is expected to be made in mid-September and the building work would have to be completed within 540 days of a notice to proceed.
A June 24 pre-solicitation for “border facility upgrades near Batken, Kyrgyzstan, […] to existing border outpost facilities” says the upgrades – water, sewer and electricity connections – could cost up to $250,000. An award is expected to be made in September and the contractor would have 210 days to perform the work.
This is a significantly cheaper and smaller project than the initial sources-sought notice, which was advertised on May 19, indicated. “We anticipate two different projects in Kyrgyzstan. Both are estimated to be in the $5 million to $10 million dollar range,” the May notice stated.
A pre-solicitation for work in Kazakhstan includes the demolition of an existing helicopter hangar and construction of a new one near Almaty, along with the building of canine training facilities. The pre-solicitation contains an option for two more canine training facilities near the city and possibly construction of “a state-of-the-art vehicle scanning facility at site near the city of Almaty. Exact location is not yet determined. Facility will consist of the scanner, supporting administrative facilities and site improvements to physically secure the check-point.” The estimated value of the projects is up to $10 million.
On June 7 a pre-solicitation outlined plans for a “fully operational compound” to be located at Karatog, Tajikistan costing up to $10 million. US forces are expected to conduct some training of Tajik forces at the site including “Military Operations in Urban Terrain” and “sniper/observer training and operations” the pre-solicitation indicated.
The proposed US anti-terror training in Osh was originally earmarked for Batken. The US government has yet to place any notices about it on the FBO.gov website. The facility, if construction proceeds, would be used for “a variety of Kyrgyz armed forces training activities [including] border security and counter-narcotics training,” a spokeswoman for the US embassy said on June 4. The projected cost is $5.5 million.
Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.