Major non-NATO ally
United States in green.
Major non-NATO ally in orange.
Rest of NATO in light green.
|Type||Non-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.
MNNA status was first created in 1987 when section 2350a, otherwise known as the Sam Nunn Amendment, was added to Title 10 (Armed Forces) of the United States Code by Congress. 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. 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. When enacted, the statute designated the initial five countries as major non-NATO allies, and added Jordan and New Zealand to the list.
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.
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.
In 2019, Donald Trump designated Argentina's neighboring country Brazil as a major non-NATO ally after receiving a working visit from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
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. 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. 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."
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." 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.
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. 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. Singapore also has a permanent fighter training detachment in Guam, an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States.
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. 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".
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. 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.
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.
In June 2019 US lawmakers provided for enhancements to India's status, though this fell short of making them a MNNA.
Nations named as major non-NATO allies are eligible for the following benefits:
In December 2014, the US House passed the United States–Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013. 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. The bill additionally called for the US to increase their war reserve stock in Israel to US$1.8 billion. The bill did not reach a vote, and as such did not pass or become law.
In 2018 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’.
The following countries have been designated as major non-NATO allies of the United States (in order of their appointment):