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. Yet America has been slow to wake up to the challenge.

To fill that void, we are building The Marathon Initiative.

Our Focus

The mission of The Marathon Initiative is to develop strategies for preserving America’s prosperity, security, and democratic-republican way of life in an era when they are threatened by the return of great power competition.

What We Do

Marathon exists to develop the diplomatic, military, and economic strategies America will need to navigate conditions of protracted competition with great power rivals.

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

The Marathon Initiative is a 501(C)3 non-profit research think tank dedicated to the development of strategies to deal with the problems posed by great power competition.

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 J. Grygiel

Dr. Jakub Grygiel is a Senior Advisor at The Marathon Initiative and formerly served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of 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

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.

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....

President Biden Delivers Remarks On Response To Economic Crisis From White House
February 3, 2021

Key Republican Lessons for Biden’s Global Agenda

Foreign Policy | Five former officials from the Trump and George W. Bush administrations share their foreign-policy advice for the new team.....

February 1, 2021

NATO Must Adapt for a Dangerous New Era

Internationale Politik Quarterly | The North Atlantic Alliance has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make much-needed changes and reinvent itself as the central strategic platform for transatlantic cooperation...

January 26, 2021

America Can Defend Taiwan

Wall Street Journal | The Biden administration faces a stark reality: Over the next four years it’s possible that China will try to take Taiwan.....

January 26, 2021

Reforming NATO: The Report of the Reflection Group

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik e.V. | In March 2020, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg appointed a group of experts to support his work on a forward-looking “reflection process” to further strengthen the political dimension of the alliance. ...

January 13, 2021

Is NATO Prepared for the Future? Reflections on NATO 2030: United for a New Era

Wilson Center | Former German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell in conversation with Dan Hamilton about their independent Reflection Group report "NATO 2030: United for a New Era."...

January 10, 2021

US risks enraging China by easing limits on Taiwan relations

Financial Times | Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, has lifted longstanding restrictions that limit US diplomatic relations with Taiwan, in a move that is likely to incense China days before the Biden administration takes power.....

January 10, 2021

State Dept. Moves to Ease Restrictions on Meeting With Taiwan Officials

New York Times | The United States said on Saturday that it would relax its restrictions on interactions between American officials and their counterparts in Taiwan as the Trump administration seeks to lock in a tougher line against Beijing in its final days.....

January 10, 2021

NYSE begins delisting China’s three largest state-run telecoms groups

Financial Times | The New York Stock Exchange has begun delisting China’s three largest state-run telecom groups to comply with a Trump administration executive order barring US investors from holding stakes in companies suspected of having ties to the Chinese military......

December 28, 2020

Pushback on Xi’s Vision for China Spreads Beyond U.S.

Wall Street Journal | In March 2019, Xi Jinping flew to Paris to meet French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the then-president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker...

December 24, 2020

How NATO Manages the “Bear” and the “Dragon”

Orbis | In March 2020, the secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg, convened a “reflection group” to....

December 21, 2020

Flareup feared in South China Sea due to power vacuum in U.S.

The Asahi ShimbunAround the time Joe Biden was giving his victory speech in Delaware as U.S. president-elect on Nov. 8, two B-1B strategic bombers took off from Andersen U.S. Air Force Base in Guam and set a course for the South China Sea....

December 18, 2020

Live: The NATO 2030 Report, with Wess Mitchell

CNAS | Wess Mitchell joins Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend on a special, live episode of Brussels Sprouts to discuss the “NATO 2030” report’s findings on the future of the NATO Alliance...

December 16, 2020

Reflections on NATO: United for a New Era

CEPA | At a moment in which NATO is more indispensable than ever to protect Allies’ security and democratic way of life, the NATO Reflection Group’s report "NATO 2030: United for a New Era" presents a roadmap for how the Alliance can adapt together to address the evolving strategic environment over the next decade...

December 16, 2020

Sources of Chinese Conduct: A Debate

CFTNI | More than a half-century ago, George Kennan published an analysis of the sources of Soviet conduct that helped to shape US policy toward Moscow throughout the Cold War. More recently, the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff...

December 16, 2020

Two Possible Futures An outlook on EU-US relations

Köerber Stiftung |Things will not go back to the way they were before 2016. Regardless of how one thinks Donald Trump handled the relationship with Europe and with....


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