The BGA Myanmar Team led by Managing Director Dr. Zaw Oo, wrote an update to clients on the implications for Myanmar from the recent passage of the annual defense bill know as the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The update addressed some of the notable items to watch as well as the potential trajectory of U.S. Myanmar policy.


  • The U.S. Senate on December 15, 2022, passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2023 subsequently signed by U.S. President Joe Biden. The legislation significantly expands the U.S. commitment to restoring democracy in Myanmar by authorizing sanctions against military regime members and humanitarian assistance and technical support to the opposition.
  • The NDAA incorporates extensive amendments to the Burma Unified through Rigorous Accountability Act (BURMA Act) of 2021. The House of Representatives had passed this in April 2022.


  • The NDAA’s implications for Myanmar are more political than economic. The legislation codifies the U.S. administration’s ability to engage directly with a wide range of anti-SAC forces, including the opposition National Unity Government (NUG) and armed groups such as the People’s Defense Forces and ethnic armed organizations — entities the SAC has designated as terrorist organizations.
  • The NDAA designates China and Russia as bad actors due to their support of Myanmar’s military regime. Though the legislation pledges to hold them accountable, it does not elaborate how this will be accomplished.


  • The NDAA sends a powerful message to the business community to cease activities in targeted sectors. Due to extraterritorial powers of U.S. laws, non-U.S. financial institutions facilitating payments to the military and its associated entities will be subject to U.S. sanctions.
  • Close attention will need to be paid to how relevant NDAA provisions translate into actual funding appropriations. Last year’s act authorized $50 million in support to civil society organizations and $220 million for humanitarian assistance.

We will continue to keep you updated on developments in Myanmar as they occur. If you have any questions or comments, please contact BGA Myanmar Managing Director Zaw Oo at