Uzbekistan has ambitions to become the most determinant regional middle power in Central Asia and it will play a key-role in the post-2014 scenario. This double land-locked country - surrounded by all other FSU Central Asian states and Afghanistan - is not a rich country in terms of energy resources and raw materials. Anyway, Uzbekistan is the biggest country for population (28 million people) with the most developed and largest army (nearly 50,000 strong) in post-Soviet Central Asia, keeping some power projection capability and an effective (and widespread) intelligence service. Since the late 90’s, Uzbekistan is developing its armed forces even for asymmetric combat and laying emphasis upon small unit tactics and training for low-intensity conflict. This approach is functional to mountain/desert warfare scenarios and counter-terrorist operations, rather than combined-arms operations or peacekeeping missions. In Uzbekistan both domestic and foreign intelligence services are centralized in SNB (Sluhzba Natsionalnoy Bazapasnosti – National Security Service), a structure that reminds the former UzbSSR's KGB. SNB provides an advanced intelligence infrastructure and a good quality of agents operating domestically and abroad (expecially in the Uzbek diaspora in Afghanistan) in collaboration with other foreign services (like Russia, India and China) and involving think tanks. This institution is fundamental for government policy-making.
Riccardo Mario Cucciolla, IMT Lucca