Focused on Strategy with Impact
Committed to Deep Analysis
Oriented to the Future
Committed to Public Duty
previous arrow
next arrow

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

December 2, 2021

The United States Should Defend Taiwan

National Review | The United States should defend Taiwan if China attacks it. Not out of altruism — although it would benefit Taiwan for us to do so — but out of self-interest.....

December 1, 2021

WSJ: The 10 Best Books of 2021

The Wall Street Journal | China cannot be contained. It cannot be appeased. It must instead be denied its immediate geopolitical goals and its long-term plans for economic, military and ideological domination in what many pundits call “the coming Chinese century.” .....

December 1, 2021

‘Canada should be worried’: Elbridge Colby offers a realist perspective on the rise of China

The Hub | Today’s Hub Dialogue is with defence and national security policy expert Elbridge Colby. .....

November 23, 2021

Elbridge Colby Joins Krystal Nation (Canada)

CanadaTalks SiriusXM 167 | Elbridge Colby interviewed by Andrew Krystal on Krystal Nation.....

November 20, 2021

Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs: Elbridge Colby

Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs | The Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs was founded in 1980 by broadly representative and distinguished community leaders and is dedicated to educating citizens about foreign affairs.......

November 19, 2021

West Wing Reports: Infrastructure Week, A Censured Congressman, and Trouble with China

West Wing Reports with Paul Brandus | This week, Paul Brandus wraps up the week's news, including the approved infrastructure bill, Rep.......

November 19, 2021

The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict Book Discussion

American Compass | America may no longer be the world’s dominant state, but we must not allow China to claim that title......

November 18, 2021

After Hegemony

The John Batchelor Show | Peter Berkowitz interviewed on Elbridge Colby's defense of Taiwan on The John Batchelor Show......

November 17, 2021

The U.S. Military and the Coming Great-Power Challenge

Foreign Affairs | In describing this dangerous new world, The Strategy of Denial touches on a range of topics, including the challenge posed to NATO from a resurgent Russia, rival nuclear arsenal growth, an unstable Middle East, and global terrorism.....

November 16, 2021

Elbridge Colby on ‘The Strategy of Denial’

News/Talk 1540 KXEL | Elbridge Colby interviewed on News/Talk 1540 KXEL in Iowa....

November 16, 2021

President Biden and Xi Jinping Hold Virtual Summit

BBC Newshour | President Biden and China's leader, Xi Jinping, have held an extensive video summit that contained moments of warmth -- but also warnings....

November 15, 2021

Is Our Strategy Denial?: Debate and Discussion with Matt Pottinger and Bridge Colby

The Vandenberg Coalition | On Monday, November 15, 2021, the Vandenberg Coalition held a discussion on U.S. policy toward China with former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development Elbridge Colby, moderated by Vandenberg Coalition board member and former Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger.....

November 14, 2021

Denying China’s Quest for Regional — and Global — Hegemony

RealClear Politics | According to Elbridge Colby, the single most important fact about China today is that it is a great power that seeks regional hegemony in Asia, the globe’s fastest-growing economic region and home to more than half of the world’s population......

November 14, 2021

Le livre éco de la semaine en VO: Et si les Etats-Unis et la Chine entraient en guerre? (Book of the Week: What if the United States and China go to war?)

L’Express | What could an armed conflict between the two superpowers look like? Elbridge Colby outlines a possible future......

November 13, 2021

How America Can Defend Taiwan

The Spectator | How would America respond if China attacked Taiwan? The pressure to defend the island would be compelling, if not overwhelming.....

November 12, 2021

Asia Must Examine Costs of Involvement if China Invades Taiwan

Nikkei Asia | "If China annexes Taiwan, it will undoubtedly militarize the island," said Elbridge Colby, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development. ".....

November 10, 2021

How does China’s military stack up against America’s?

Fox News | With Elbridge Colby, Fox News Pentagon correspondent Lucas Tomlinson shows how the current Chinese military compares to America's on 'America Reports.....

November 8, 2021

Providence Magazine Conference: “The United States and China”

Providence Magazine | During Providence‘s Christianity and National Security Conference, Elbridge Colby discussed US-China relations.....

November 5, 2021

California Rebel Base: Ep. 49: How China Is Planning Global Dominance feat. Elbridge Colby

California Rebel Base with Steve Hilton | Today, Steve and Kristen turn their attention to the global stage for a chat with Elbridge Colby, author of The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict.....

November 5, 2021

Brookings: What is a ‘strategy of denial’ and does it make sense for America?

The Brookings Institution | The 2018 National Defense Strategy was the first time the Pentagon identified China as the organizing focus of U.S. defense policy. Elbridge Colby, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development, was a key architect of that document.....


For press inquiries, please email us at press@themarathoninitiative.org.

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