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

April 25, 2021

Interests, Not Values, Should Guide America’s China Strategy

The National Interest |It is now widely accepted that the United States is in a great power competition with China, and that allies and partners are pivotal in this struggle....

April 20, 2021

China and Russia Turn Deeper Ties into a Military Challenge for Biden

Foreign Policy | “You face a two-front war where we don’t have a two-front military,” said Elbridge Colby, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense during the Trump administration.

April 16, 2021

Taiwan contingency directly connected to Japan’s sovereignty—former Pentagon official

Jiji Press | Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Elbridge Colby, who was in charge of formulating the US National Defense Strategy in 2018, said in an interview that the Taiwan contingency was a problem directly linked to Japan's sovereignty. The answers to each question are as follows....

April 8, 2021

Biden Backs Taiwan, but Some Call for a Clearer Warning to China

The New York Times | If anything can tip the global power struggle between China and the United States into an actual military conflict, many experts and administration officials say, ...

April 5, 2021

The West Needs to Redevelop the Tools and Mindset of Strategic Competition

Small Wars Journal | Interview with Dr. A. Wess Mitchell, co-chair of the NATO 2030 Reflection Process....

March 31, 2021

Biden Team’s Embrace of Europe Falls Short on Content

Foreign Policy | U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s inaugural trip to Europe last week is being hailed as a soothing restoration of the trans-Atlantic alliance....

March 25, 2021

Let’s Avoid the ‘Crusades’ and Focus on China

Le Figaro | This former Pentagon strategist under Trump warns against overly aggressive rhetoric on "democratic values" that is not backed up by adequate military and economic means...

March 24, 2021

The Taiwan Flashpoint in US-China Relations

Renaissance Macro Research | RenMac’s Head of Policy Steve Pavlick will host a discussion on how Taiwan could become the flashpoint in U.S.-China relations...

March 23, 2021

NATO: India’s Next Geopolitical Destination

Hindustan Times | When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders meet later this year, they will debate the recommendations from a group of experts (which I co-chaired) that advocates, among other things...

March 22, 2021

The State of (Deterrence By) Denial

War on the Rocks | America should act now to strengthen its Western Pacific forward posture. Neglecting it further raises the risk of war — and defeat....

March 21, 2021

Biden’s Global, Muscular Liberalism is an Indefensible Foreign Policy in 2021

The Washington Post | The central theme of President Biden’s foreign policy is a global, muscular liberalism. Ensuring that democracy “will and must prevail,” Biden told the Munich Security Conference, is “our galvanizing mission....

March 18, 2021

Japan Must Urgently Increase Defense Spending

Nikkei Asia | Japan needs to spend a lot more on defense. Though relations between Tokyo and Washington are very solid, the simple fact is that America cannot and, if pressed, very likely will not balance China effectively alone. ...

March 16, 2021

Future Balance of Power Haunts US as China Bulks Up

Nikkei Asia | In recent years, the Pentagon has carried out multiple war games simulating a U.S.-China military conflict in Asia. The American side has reportedly lost time and time again...

March 10, 2021

The New Transatlantic Security Agenda

Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique | FRS and U.S. Embassy & Consulates in France are pleased to invite you to a webinar entitled "The New Transatlantic Security Agenda", which will be held online on Wednesday, March 10, from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm (CET)...

March 7, 2021

For the Philippines, sticking with America is a better, safe play

Manila Standard | It is now clear to all that the major factor in international politics will be the US-China competition, in Asia more than anywhere else.....

February 23, 2021

NATO Needs to Deal With China Head-On

Foreign Policy | The Western alliance is unprepared to counter the direct and growing challenge from Beijing....

February 19, 2021

US Concerned at Chinese Law Allowing Coast Guard Use of Arms

Financial Times | The US has expressed concern about a new law that authorises the Chinese coast guard to fire on foreign ships operating in disputed waters claimed by Beijing in the South China Sea and East China Sea….

February 19, 2021

We Must Prepare for Military Threats from North Korea And China

Hankook Ilbo | For decades, South Korea and US forces in Korea have prioritized only the North Korean threat. Only North Korea has posed a real and direct threat to South Korea. But in 10 years or earlier, the change will begin......

February 10, 2021

Joe Biden creates Pentagon task force on China

Financial Times | US president pledges to ‘meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win’....

President Biden Meets With Vice President And Top Defense Advisors
February 10, 2021

Pentagon launches new task force to examine China threat

Politico | The move underscored the message that the administration is prepared to counter China on the military front....


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