Major non-NATO ally

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Major non-NATO ally

United States in green. Major non-NATO ally in orange. Rest of NATO in light green.
United States in green.
Major non-NATO ally in orange.
Rest of NATO in light green.
TypeNon-NATO military alliances with the United States.

Major non-NATO ally (MNNA) is a designation given by the United States government to close allies that have strategic working relationships with the US Armed Forces but are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). While the status does not automatically include a mutual defense pact with the United States, it still confers a variety of military and financial advantages that otherwise are not obtainable by non-NATO countries.


Prayut Chan-o-cha, commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army, in Arlington, Virginia, June 6, 2013

MNNA status was first created in 1987[2] when section 2350a, otherwise known as the Sam Nunn Amendment, was added to Title 10 (Armed Forces) of the United States Code by Congress.[3] It stipulated that cooperative research and development agreements could be enacted with non-NATO allies by the Secretary of Defense with the concurrence of the Secretary of State. The initial MNNAs were Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, and South Korea.[2] In 1996, major non-NATO allies received additional military and financial benefits when section 2321k was added to Title 22 (Foreign Relations) of the U.S. Code (also known as section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961), which added MNNAs to many of the same exemptions from the Arms Export Control Act that were enjoyed by NATO members. It also authorized the President to designate a nation as an MNNA thirty days after notifying Congress.[4] When enacted, the statute designated the initial five countries as major non-NATO allies, and added Jordan and New Zealand to the list.

New Zealand[edit]

U.S.-New Zealand strategic and military cooperation suffered a setback after the breakdown of the ANZUS alliance in 1984 over nuclear ship entry. The designation of New Zealand as an MNNA in 1997 reflected the warming of relations between the two. In June 2012 New Zealand signed a partnership arrangement with NATO further strengthening and consolidating relations.

Latin America[edit]


In 1998, President Bill Clinton named Argentina as an ally for the "Argentine compromise and contribution to international peace and security" materialized in its participation in the Gulf War (being the only Latin American country to do so), and for its continuing support of United Nations peacekeeping missions.[5][6]


In 2019, Donald Trump designated Argentina's neighboring country Brazil as a major non-NATO ally[1] after receiving a working visit from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.[7]

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis meets with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during a meeting held at the Pentagon, April 5, 2017.


The designation of certain countries as major non-NATO allies has not been without controversy. In 2017, U.S. Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX) and Rick Nolan (D-MN) introduced H.R. 3000, a bill to revoke Pakistan's position as an MNNA, citing inadequate counterterrorism efforts, the harboring of Osama bin Laden and Pakistani support for the Taliban.[8] The bill never received a vote. In 2021, U.S. Representative Andy Biggs introduced H.R. 35, another version of the legislation.

In 2017, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accused Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of having ties to terror groups.[9] Reuters reported that "possible Trump administration responses being discussed include expanding U.S. drone strikes and perhaps eventually downgrading Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally."[10]



When Congress enacted on September 30, 2002, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for FY 2003, it required that Taiwan be "treated as though it were designated a major non-NATO ally."[11] Despite some initial misgivings about Congress's perceived intrusion into the President's foreign affairs authority, the Bush administration subsequently submitted a letter to Congress on August 29, 2003, designating Taiwan as a major non-NATO ally.[11]

ASEAN Members[edit]

Around the same time, invitations were sent to the ASEAN members Thailand and the Philippines, both of whom accepted.


The ASEAN member Singapore was offered a similar arrangement to be a major non-NATO ally during the Bush administration, but had turned the offer down.[12] It espouses neutrality as a principle of its foreign policy. Nevertheless, both Singapore and the United States have a close military partnership, such as the joint use of the Changi Naval Base and Paya Lebar Air Base in Singapore, as well as the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.[13][14] Singapore also has a permanent fighter training detachment in Guam, an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States.[15]

In 2020, Singapore announced its intention to purchase 12 Lockheed Martin's F-35 (F-35SG) fighter jets, a deal worth $2.75 billion, and was approved by the U.S. State Department.[16] Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, R. Clarke Cooper, mentioned that such a deal was part of the "vital and longstanding relationship shared between Singapore and the United States".[17]

Potential MNNAs[edit]

Ukraine and other former Soviet Republics[edit]

In 2014, following the 2014 Crimean Crisis, a bill was introduced to the United States Congress to grant major non-NATO ally status to Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.[18] In May 2015, US President Barack Obama declared his intention to make Tunisia a non-NATO ally while hosting his Tunisian counterpart Beji Caid Essebsi at the White House. A bill to make Ukraine a major non-NATO ally was introduced into the US House of Representatives in May 2019.[19]

Saudi Arabia and others[edit]

During a 2015 Camp David summit with the Gulf Cooperation Council states, the Obama administration considered designating Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar as MNNAs.[20]


In June 2019 US lawmakers provided for enhancements to India's status, though this fell short of making them a MNNA.[21][22]


Nations named as major non-NATO allies are eligible for the following benefits:[23]

Israel as Major Strategic Partner[edit]

In December 2014, the US House passed the United States–Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013.[24] This new category would have placed Israel one notch above the Major Non-NATO Ally classification and would have added additional support for defense, energy, and strengthen cooperation business and academics.[25] The bill additionally called for the US to increase their war reserve stock in Israel to US$1.8 billion.[26] The bill did not reach a vote, and as such did not pass or become law.

India as Major Defence Partner[edit]

In 2016 USA recognized India as a “major defence partner”.

The description came less than a month after the House of Representatives passed the US India Defense Technology and Partnership Act.[27]

List of MNNAs[edit]

The following countries have been designated as major non-NATO allies of the United States (in order of their appointment):[28][29][30]

South Korean soldiers and a U.S. Army officer monitor the Korean Demilitarized Zone in 2008.
Australian Defence Force, New Zealand Defence Force and US Army personnel conduct medevac training exercises at Camp Taji, Iraq, in 2018.

Named by Ronald Reagan[edit]

Named by Bill Clinton[edit]

Named by George W. Bush[edit]

Named by Barack Obama[edit]

Named by Donald Trump[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Major Non-NATO Ally Status". United States Department of State. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "U.S. Is Granting Israel Non-NATO Ally Status : Move Should Bring Strategic and Economic Gains, Shamir Says; Egypt Gets Same Rating". Los Angeles Times. February 16, 1987. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  3. ^ Title 10, section 2350a of U.S. Code Archived 2012-07-21 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b 22 U.S.C. § 2321k
  5. ^ "Argentina, gran aliado extra-OTAN" [Argentina great ally extra-NATO]. Perfil (in Spanish). April 29, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  6. ^ "Polémica por la designación como aliado extra-OTAN" [Controversy over designation as extra-OTAN ally]. Clarín (in Spanish). October 10, 1997. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  7. ^ "Trump bumps up Brazil to 'major non-NATO' ally".
  9. ^ "General Dunford: Pakistan intelligence has links to 'terrorists'". Al-Jazeera. October 4, 2017.
  10. ^ "Mattis says will try to work with Pakistan 'one more time'". Reuters. October 3, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Kan, Shirley (December 2009). Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990. DIANE Publishing. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-4379-2041-3.
  12. ^ Huxley, Tim (July 30, 2012). "Singapore and the US: not quite allies". The Strategist. Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  13. ^ Graham, Euan (December 10, 2015). "The US-Singapore enhanced defence agreement: A third upgrade for bilateral collaboration". The Interpreter. The Lowy Institute. Archived from the original on August 26, 2020. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  14. ^ H M, A (October 12, 2019). "F-15SG fighter jet detachment in US turns 10; commander says it's RSAF's 'tip of the spear'". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  15. ^ Yong, Charissa (December 28, 2019). "Singapore and United States sign pact to set up RSAF fighter training detachment in Guam". The Straits Times. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  16. ^ "U.S. State Dept. approves sale of 12 F-35 jets to Singapore". Reuters. January 20, 2020. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  17. ^ "Singapore's F-35 jet purchase part of longstanding bilateral relationship: US official". The Straits Times. February 10, 2020. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  18. ^ H.R. 5782 - Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014
  19. ^ "Ukraine might be designated as major non-NATO US ally". Kyiv Post. June 1, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  20. ^ Toosi, Nahal (May 14, 2015). "U.S. may raise Arab states to 'major' ally status". Politico. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  21. ^ "US Senate okays non-Nato ally status for India". Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  22. ^ Iwanek, Krzysztof (August 1, 2019). "No, India Isn't a 'Major Non-NATO Ally' of the United States". The Diplomat.
  23. ^ "Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA)". September 15, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  24. ^ "Congress enshrines Israel in a new class of ally". The Jerusalem Post - Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  25. ^ "US Congress passes Israel strategic partnership bill". The Times of Israel. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  26. ^ "US Congress passes Israel strategic partnership bill". Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  27. ^ Chaudhury, Dipanjan Roy. "US recognises India as 'major defence partner' - The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  28. ^ "Major Non-NATO Ally Status". US State Department. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  29. ^ "Code of Federal Regulations - Title 22 - Foreign Relations - § 120.32Major non-NATO ally". United States Government Publishing Office. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  30. ^ "22 USC 2321k: Designation of major non-NATO allies". United States Government Publishing Office. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  31. ^ Stearns, Scott (July 7, 2012). "Afghanistan Designated Major US Ally During Clinton Visit to Kabul". Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  32. ^ "Overview of U.S. Policy Toward South America and the President's Upcoming Trip to the Region". Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  33. ^ "Memorandum on Designation of Bahrain as a Major Non-NATO Ally". The American Presidency Project. March 14, 2002. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  34. ^ "Bush 'upgrades' Philippines". CNN. May 20, 2003. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  35. ^ Despeignes, Peronet (October 20, 2003). "U.S. wants APEC agenda to include security issues". USA Today. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  36. ^ "US tightens military relationship with Kuwait". Associated Press. January 15, 2004. Archived from the original on January 29, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2012.(subscription required)
  37. ^ "US rewards Morocco for terror aid". BBC News. June 4, 2004. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  38. ^ South Asia Analysis Group Archived April 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ "Hillary Clinton says Afghanistan 'major non-Nato ally'". BBC News. July 7, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  40. ^ United States Department of State
  41. ^ "Designation of Tunisia as a Major Non-NATO Ally". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  42. ^ "Memorandum on the Designation of the Federative Republic of Brazil as a Major Non-NATO Ally". July 31, 2019 – via National Archives.
  43. ^ "Message to the Congress on Designating Brazil as a Major Non-NATO Ally". May 8, 2019 – via National Archives.
  44. ^ NATO. "Partners". NATO. Retrieved March 9, 2021.