Major non-NATO ally

Major non-NATO ally is a designation given by the U.S. government to some of its close allies.

About the designation

  • United States government gives Major non-NATO ally designation to countries that are not members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) but have strategic relationships with Armed Forces of the United States.
  • The Major non-NATO ally designation does not automatically include any mutual defense pact with the U.S.
  • However, the country with that designation will have many military and financial benefits that are not available to other non-NATO countries.


  • Major non-NATO ally designation was created in 1987 through the addition of section 2350a to Title 10 (Armed Forces) of the U.S. Code.
  • Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, and South Korea were the first five states that got Major non-NATO ally status.
  • These countries received additional military and financial benefits in 1996 through the addition of section 2321k was added to Title 22 (Foreign Relations) of the United States Code. Major non-NATO allies enjoy many of the exemptions from the Arms Export Control Act that were given to NATO members.

Benefits of Major non-NATO ally status

  • Entry into cooperative research with the Department of Defense (DoD)
  • Participation in certain counter-terrorism exercises
  • Delivery of military surplus on a priority basis
  • Loans of equipment and materials for development projects
  • Permission to use U.S. financing to purchase certain defense equipment
  • Speedy export processing of space technology

Major non-NATO ally status for Colombia

On 10th March, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that he intends to designate Colombia as a major non-NATO ally. This demonstrates the close relations between U.S and Colombia.




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