last updated:9/2/03
"Major Non-NATO Ally" (MNNA) Status

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Description Law
The benefits of major non-NATO ally (MNNA) status are largely symbolic, implying a close working relationship with a country's defense forces. MNNAs do not enjoy the same mutual defense and security guarantees afforded to members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The granting of MNNA status, however, does carry some advantages in the foreign-assistance process. Major non-NATO allies are eligible for:

  1. Priority delivery of excess defense articles (EDA);
  2. Stockpiling of U.S. defense articles;
  3. Purchase of depleted uranium anti-tank rounds;
  4. Participation in cooperative research and development programs; and
  5. (For countries that were MNNAs as of March 31, 1995) participation in the Defense Export Loan Guarantee (DELG) program, which backs up private loans for commercial defense exports.

For now, the list of MNNAs in the Western Hemisphere is limited to one country. President Bill Clinton designated Argentina as the first Latin American major non-NATO ally in a determination signed on January 6, 1998.

The notion of "major non-NATO ally" (MNNA) status first surfaced in 1989, with the addition of section 2350a ("Cooperative agreements with allies") to Title 10 of the U.S. Code. For several years, this status was limited to Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, and South Korea.

Public Law 104-164, enacted in July 1996, added a new section 517 to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (P.L. 87-195) governing the designation of major non-NATO allies. The new section granted the President the authority to name new countries to be MNNAs. The President's designations of new MNNAs take effect thirty days after Congress is notified in writing.

  • Link to text of section 2350a, U.S. Code (from the House of Representatives Internet Law Library).
  • Link to text of section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act, also known as section 2321k of Title 22, U.S. Code (from the House of Representatives Internet Law Library).

Other sites

  • "Presidential Determination No. 98-9 of January 6, 1998: Designation of Argentina as a Major Non-NATO Ally." The Federal Register, January 26, 1998.
"Major Non-NATO Ally" (MNNA) Status


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