Our Work

We believe that the primary task for our generation is to build a new American strategy attuned to the pressing realities of our time. This framework must be comprehensive of the major regions and dimensions of U.S. power and interests. It must also be willing to challenge established wisdom and inertia in U.S. national security policy and related fields.

Resourcing the Strategy of Denial: Optimizing the Defense Budget in Three Alternative Futures

by Austin J. Dahmer

This study identifies the priority military forces and capabilities for the strategy of denial, identifies what extant forces and capabilities could be de-prioritized, and simulates three defense budgets under this rubric over the five-year defense planning period known as the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP).
Read the Report
Classics and Strategy

by Jakub Grygiel 

Classic texts – whether by Roman historians such as Tacitus or Greek tragedians such as Aeschylus or Florentine diplomats such as Francesco Guicciardini – give us important, and even unusual, insights into strategy. They certainly do not supply a ready-made strategy that could be applied to a specific security problem we face now. But they can open for us new or forgotten ways of thinking about threats and the competitive security environment, offering a perspective that is missing in modern intellectual and educational circles. Free of technical jargon and without abstractions, classics favor simplicity over simplification, privilege practical insights over abstraction, and elevate the role of individuals over impersonal trends and institutions. And they describe the motivations and the drivers behind men’s actions, the core of any strategy. This book brings back some of these classic writers, examining their thoughts on strategy and politics.
Read the Report
The Strategy of Denial

by Elbridge Colby 

The most informed and in-depth reappraisal of America’s defense strategy in decades, this book outlines a rigorous but practical approach, showing how the United States can prepare to win a war with China that we cannot afford to lose—precisely in order to deter that war from happening.
Get the Book
Sharing the Load: Developing Better Strategies for Burden Sharing

by Elbridge Colby with Robert Almelor Delfeld

The purpose of this study is to provide a strategic framework which the United States can use to lead to better burden sharing outcomes, in turn driving greater and more aligned efforts by Washington’s allies and partners.
Read the Report
Building a Strategy for Escalation and War Termination

by Elbridge Colby and Yashar Parsie 

This paper examines the necessity for the United States to formulate a theory of success in a conflict over Taiwan that includes denial but also indicates how to favorably manage escalation – that is, achieving its strategic-political goals without, at a minimum, precipitating a massive attack on the United States.
Read the Report
Statement of Elbridge A. Colby to the Special Committee on the Canada-China Relationship, House of Commons of Canada

by Elbridge Colby

Thank you very much for the invitation to testify. It is a great honor to be able to submit testimony to this important and timely Committee. Whether we like it or not, the world has now entered into an era of great power rivalry. While the United States and China are the two primary poles in this new old world, everyone – including Canada – will be profoundly affected.
Read the Statement
Zeitenwende – German Defence Policy in an Era of Great Power Conflict: Keynote Remarks

by Elbridge Colby

“The Zeitenwende is thus an historic and enormously commendable step by Germany, as it points in the direction of a truly collaborative solution to this global set of problems we as allies now face …”
Read the Report
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 …
Read the Report
Association of the United States Army LANPAC: Keynote Remarks

by Elbridge Colby

“Our empowerment, our bolstering of military efforts is focused on denial – a goal that is in the most basic sense defensive …”
Read the Report
Economic Interdependence Will Not Deter U.S.-China War

by Christopher Vassallo

Economic ties linking the U.S. with China are insufficient to prevent a war …
Read the Report
Realizing the Contact & Blunt Layers in Europe and Asia

by Elbridge Colby and Jakub Grygiel (with Yashar Parsie)

The purpose of this study is to provide a strategic framework for how the U.S. should think about and act toward allies and partners in an era defined by great power competition…
Read the Report
March 11, 2023

The real and acute threat of a Sino-US conflict over Taiwan

Hindustan Times | India should worry a great deal about a Sino-United States (US) war over Taiwan. To be fair, why it should is not necessarily obvious. After all, the Western Pacific is far from India.......
March 11, 2023

If China’s foreign minister tells us war is inevitable, we should listen

The Sydney Morning Herald | Is this realistic? It is indeed, according to the lead author of the 2018 US National Security Strategy. Only one country has the potential to dominate the US, Elbridge Colby told me last year.......
March 7, 2023

Impact of Russian’s Invasion of Ukraine on Indo-Pacific Security- Drawing Parallels to Taiwan

U.S. Embassy — Tokyo | Listen to former U.S. Department of Defense senior official Elbridge Colby and Japanese scholar Yuki Tatsumi discuss how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine impacts Japanese and American security interests, as well as the People’s Republic of China’s thinking on Taiwan......
March 6, 2023

Deterring a Cross-Strait Conflict: Beijing’s Assessment of Evolving U.S. Strategy

CSIS | How are Chinese experts assessing U.S. deterrence strategy in the Indo-Pacific and in the Taiwan Strait? Please join the Interpret: China project and a panel of leading experts for a discussion of efforts by the United States and its allies and partners to deter Chinese aggression, drawing on insights from newly translated Chinese documents.....
March 3, 2023

We’ve been pursuing a Ukraine policy that’s ‘detached from reality’: Elbridge Colby

FOX News | Elbridge Colby: There's a huge conflict brewing with China, and it’s not tenable that we can do that and Ukraine.....
March 2, 2023

The Rise of the Right-Wing Peacenik

The Free Press | Many on the right are not so much anti-war as they are China-focused. This includes Elbridge Colby, a deputy assistant secretary of defense under Trump and a leading advocate of channeling dollars and military assets away from the Middle East and Eastern Europe and toward East Asia.......
February 28, 2023

The Realignment: 348 | Is Taiwan Next?: Part II with Elbridge Colby

The Realingnment | Elbridge Colby, co-founder of The Marathon Initiative, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development, and author of The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict, returns to The Realignment to follow up on last year's episode on Taiwan......
February 28, 2023

A Strategy of Denial for the Western Pacific

U.S. Naval Institute | China aspires to dominate the Indo-Pacific region—the impact of which would dramatically undermine Americans’ security, freedom, and prosperity. The only workable strategy is to deny China this goal. The naval services will play a central role.....
February 26, 2023

The war in Ukraine may not go nuclear, but don’t expect it to end soon

The Hub | With a new mobilization announced by Russia to continue the war effort, Elbridge Colby, the former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of d for Strategy and Force Development, says he is less concerned about nuclear conflict than he was in recent months......
February 24, 2023

One year of war in Ukraine: six experts predict what will happen next

The Spectator | As the war in Ukraine enters its second year, today seems as a good time as any to reflect on its first, and see what the future might hold. Six foreign policy experts from across the spectrum of opinion offered their thoughts to The Spectator.....