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

July 30, 2021

How the U.S. Learned to Stop Worrying About the Pacific and Love the ‘Indo-Pacific’

Foreign Policy | “From a military perspective, the focus really needs to be tightly on the Pacific, especially the first island chain and Taiwan,” said Elbridge Colby, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense during the Trump administration who helped craft the 2018 National Defense Strategy....

June 30, 2021

Biden Is Falling Into the Same Trap With Europe as Obama

Foreign Policy | In reality, U.S. ties with many European allies don’t need resuscitation. In fact, many of these relationships significantly improved under Trump following years of neglect under the Obama administration.....

June 24, 2021

Deter China’s military invasion of Taiwan

47 News | As the conflict between the United States and China deepens and tensions in the Taiwan Strait are worried, Elbridge Colby, who participated in the formulation of the strategy for China as Assistant Secretary of Defense under the former US administration of Trump,....

June 24, 2021

Wess Mitchell testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on NATO 2030

House Foreign Affairs Committee | TMI Principal Wess Mitchell reflects on strengthening the transatlantic alliance in his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee #NATO2030.......

June 21, 2021

Pacific deterrence budget creates rift between Biden and Congress

Nikkei Asia | The confusion over the PDI shows that there is still debate over "how to deal with the China military challenge," even as the question of whether Beijing is a priority has been settled,....

June 18, 2021

Japan must disavow pacifism and embrace collective defense

Nikkei Asia | The question of how to respond to China's enormous growth and increasing assertiveness is leading countries across the Indo-Pacific to grapple with uncomfortable -- even previously unimaginable -- policy changes....

June 15, 2021

Building a Force That Wins: Recommendations for the 2022 National Defense Strategy

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies | Speaker(s): Mark Gunzinger, Director of Future Concepts and Capability Assessments; Lukas Autenried, Senior Analyst; Lt Gen Dave Deptula....

June 15, 2021

Pentagon considering permanent naval task force to counter China in the Pacific

POLITICO | While the initiatives would not be a silver bullet to solve the China problem, the efforts are an encouraging sign that the Pentagon is committed to moving resources....

June 13, 2021

Elbridge Colby and Max Bergmann on President Biden’s First Overseas Trip

C-SPAN | Marathon Initiative’s Elbridge Colby and Center for American Progress' Max Bergmann talked about President Biden’s first overseas trip, plus other topics on foreign policy....

June 12, 2021

The Curzonian imprint on Indian foreign policy

Hindustan Times | Lord Curzon’s conceptualisation of India’s neighbourhood and emphasis on frontiers and integration is still relevant and can serve as a template for both India and India-US partnership....

June 12, 2021

With Donald Trump gone, NATO is plotting its future

The Economist | Even so, the geopolitics of Europe and Asia are unavoidably entwined, not least because America’s national defence strategy in 2018 explicitly discarded the requirement that the country be able to fight two wars at the same time.......

June 11, 2021

Asia Times Webinar: “What might start a Pacific War, and who would win it?”

Asia Times | Asia Times welcomes readers to an online discussion between editor-in-chief Uwe Parpart and Elbridge Colby, former Deputy Assistant Secretary....

June 9, 2021

Trump, Biden und Europa: Geopolitik, Lastenverteilung und Stil

Neue Zuericher Zeitung | Wess Mitchell zieht in der NZZ erstmals Bilanz über seine Zeit als führender Europa-Politiker unter dem ehemaligen amerikanischen Präsidenten.....

June 9, 2021

Pentagon to Speed Up Efforts to Counter China

The Wall Street Journal | At this point, the say-do gap is the problem,” said Elbridge Colby, a former Pentagon official who played a key role in developing the national defense strategy during the Trump administration....

June 9, 2021

Die NATO muss sich den neuen Realitäten anpassen

Reservistenverband | In knapp einer Woche kommen die Staats- und Regierungschefs der 30 NATO-Staaten zum Gipfeltreffen zusammen......

May 20, 2021

Intelligence Squared Debates: Taiwan is Indefensible

Intelligence Squared | Some argue that the scale of China’s military presence has already surpassed anything the U.S. or Taiwan militaries could stop.

May 12, 2021

Virtual Event | US and Japan National Security and Defense Strategies

Hudson Institute | Following the recent summit between President Biden and Prime Minister Suga, it’s clear that the U.S.-Japan alliance is strong, but there are many challenges that the two powers must confront together.

May 9, 2021

Asia is US Priority: Europe Has to be Ready to Defend Itself Alone

Klub Jagielloński | What the US wants is a sustainable, favorable balance of power, particularly in Asia, because that’s where half of global GDP and the future is.

May 3, 2021

The future of NATO is a central issue for our freedom

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung | What challenges will NATO face in the future? How does it have to change?  A group of experts convened by the NATO Secretary General dealt with these and many other questions last year and published a report on them....

May 2, 2021

Blinken’s European Trip Aims to Bolster Ukraine, Pressure China

Bloomberg | Biden’s team can no longer “treat success as not being Trump,” said Wess Mitchell, who served as assistant secretary of state for Europe in the Trump administration...


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

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