Ukraine’s Tactics Are Showing Smaller Countries How to Fight Back

June 6, 2022

“The clear lesson is: Don’t rely on indirect international pressure. You’ve got to be able to defeat the adversary’s ability to take and hold the key territory of your state,” says Elbridge Colby, a former Pentagon official who was the lead architect of the Trump administration’s 2018 National Defense Strategy.

To do so, Colby says, countries vulnerable to attack by Russia or China need to embrace “asymmetric defense,” ensuring that they possess “highly skilled, decentralized forces that are able to create a lot of trouble to the kind of heavier forces that are critical to conduct offensive, aggressive military operations.”


Elbridge Colby is co-founder and principal of The Marathon Initiative, a policy initiative focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition.