Focused on Strategy with Impact
Committed to Deep Analysis
Oriented to the Future
Committed to Public Duty
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What We Do

America is entering an era of great power competition for which it is not prepared. How to secure American freedom and prosperity in this more competitive age is the organizing national security question of our time.

The mission of The Marathon Initiative is to develop the diplomatic, military, and economic strategies the nation will need to navigate a protracted competition with great power rivals.

Marathon is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research organization. It is funded by private individuals and foundations, as well as by grants from or contract work for the U.S. Government. Marathon does not seek or accept funding from corporations or from foreign sources.

To preserve America’s prosperity, security, and democratic way of life in an era when they are threatened by the return of great power competition.

Who We Are

Elbridge Colby

Elbridge Colby is co-founder and principal of The Marathon Initiative and formerly served as the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development.

Wess Mitchell

Dr. A. Wess Mitchell is co-founder and principal at The Marathon Initiative and formerly served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Jakub Grygiel

Dr. Jakub J. Grygiel is a Senior Advisor at The Marathon Initiative and formerly served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State.

Edward Luttwak

Dr. Edward N. Luttwak is a Distinguished Adjunct Fellow at The Marathon Initiative and formerly served as a consultant to the U.S. government.

Matt Pottinger

Matt Pottinger is a Senior Advisor at The Marathon Initiative and formerly served as the U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor.

Our Work

Strategic Sequencing: How Great Powers Avoid Multi-Front War

by A. Wess Mitchell

This paper examines how four great powers in history have handled simultaneity. Byzantium, Venice, Habsburg Austria, and the British Empire were all confronted, at important moments in their life cycles as empires, with the appearance of new threats both more powerful and different in kind than anything they had previously encountered.
Read the Report
January 27, 2023

KOA Colorado: Elbridge Colby Discussing U.S. Military Readiness and Ukraine

KOA Colorado - 850 AM / 94.1 FM | "We'll discuss a Twitter thread from yesterday in which Bridge argues that US support for Ukraine poses serious challenges for our military readiness should there be an even moderately significant conflagration requiring our participation elsewhere in the world."...
January 25, 2023

Evolving Views on Deterrence as a Security Policy

Orbis | Deterrence offers the United States not only a more effective security policy but also a more moral one than its alternatives—so contended Elbridge Colby in 2007....
January 24, 2023

Elbridge Colby — BBC News

BBC | Elbridge Colby on BBC News.......
January 23, 2023

Bridge Colby – Wargaming U.S. Response to China-Taiwan Invasion

The Buck Sexton Show | Bridge Colby is a principal at the Marathon Initiative who served as a lead official on the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which shifted U.S. military preparedness toward China. He’s the author of “Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict, which the WSJ named as one of the top ten books of 2021.......
January 22, 2023

Here’s how America can reduce its military-industrial complex

The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton | Former Department of Defense official Elbridge Colby and author Matt Stoller examine how America can create a balanced defense budget amidst the national debt ceiling crisis on 'The Next Revolution.'.....
January 21, 2023

Discussing Taiwan and related issues with Elbridge Colby

The Washington Examiner | Earlier in December, Elbridge Colby, principal at the Marathon Initiative and the primary architect of the widely lauded 2018 National Defense Strategy, sat down with me to discuss the situation in Taiwan and other related topics. See more of our interview in the video below......
January 19, 2023

In 2023, the Indo-Pacific “anti-hegemony alliance” is gradually taking shape, and China’s ambitions have contributed to it

VOA | Elbridge Colby, former deputy assistant secretary of defense and lead author of the Trump administration's 2018 National Defense Strategy report, told VOA: "Counter-hegemonic alliances are forming, and in some On the one hand, it already exists .....
January 16, 2023

Mike Gallagher’s China challenge

The Spectator | For Elbridge Colby, former deputy assistant secretary of defense and author of The Strategy of Denial — an influential work on the challenge of Chinese belligerence — the choice of Gallagher as committee chair is “a huge gain...
January 13, 2023

Tweet: S. Jaishankar and Elbridge Colby Dialogue

India-US Forum 2023 | @ElbridgeColby: It was a distinct and unique honor to be able to discuss key issues around the US-India relationship with @DrSJaishankar this morning during the opening session of the 6th @AnantaAspen India-US Forum.....
January 13, 2023

Talk by Mr Elbridge Colby on ‘The Strategy of Denial: An Assessment of US Defense Strategy for the Indo Pacific’

Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses | The Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) is organising a Talk by Mr Elbridge Colby, author of ‘The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Competition’....
December 23, 2022

Intelligence Matters

Intelligence Matters | BEST OF 2022: Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development Elbridge Colby discusses whether the U.S. military is ready for a new era of great power competition....
December 23, 2022

Towards a Natural Equilibrium In Transatlantic Relations

Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych (PISM) | Elbridge Colby: "Well, I think Russia has clearly weakened itself. The stout Ukrainian defence has contributed to this......
December 6, 2022

Richard Marles rules out Australian base for US nuclear subs

The Australian | “Almost everything should be on the table with Australia, we need to make it far less complicated,” said Elbridge Colby, a former senior Trump administration defence official, pointing to a slew of arcane regulations that prevent advanced US defence technology being shared with Australia......
December 4, 2022

China’s Xi Jinping is in trouble: Elbridge Colby on FOX

FOX | Former Trump DOD official Elbridge Colby joins 'The Next Revolution' to weigh in on the likelihood of protests in China becoming widespread or organized enough to spread across the country.....
December 3, 2022

China is ‘building up its nuclear forces’ and ‘improving its capabilities’

Sky News - Australia | Former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Elbridge Colby says China is “building up its nuclear forces” and is “improving its capabilities”.........
December 2, 2022

The Protests in Iran and China Explained

The Daily California | Steve Hilton welcomes Lisa Daftari, of foreigndesknews.com, to talk about why the protests erupted in Iran and how we can help them....
November 29, 2022

Canada, playing catch-up, enters its own ‘decisive decade’ with China

The Hub - Canada | “Canada’s new Indo-Pacific strategy represents an important step forward. It begins to bring Ottawa’s policies into line with the increasingly evident reality that China is an exceptionally powerful, ambitious, and aggressive state that needs to be dealt with as it is, not as we might wish it to be........
November 15, 2022

Elbridge Colby on The Ingraham Angle

The Ingraham Angle | Former deputy assistant Secretary of Defense Elbridge Colby joins 'The Ingraham Angle' to break down President Biden's meeting with Xi Jinping.......
November 14, 2022

A Dangerous Game Over Taiwan

The New Yorker | Some American officials and experts believe that China’s advantages will begin to wane later in the decade. A new generation of U.S. defense improvements is scheduled to come online, and America’s defense industrial base, now attenuated, will be revived—or so goes the hope.....
November 14, 2022

Bipartisanship Is Dead. Except on China.

Bloomberg | In part, no doubt, the consensus on China reflects a far-reaching reassessment of the global balance of power by the American political elite, based on their careful study of the subject....


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For all other inquiries, please email us at inquiries@themarathoninitiative.org.