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

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. Byzantium, Venice, Habsburg Austria, and the British Empire were all confronted, at important moments in their life cycles as empires, with the appearance of new threats both more powerful and different in kind than anything they had previously encountered.
Read the Report
November 15, 2022

Elbridge Colby on The Ingraham Angle

The Ingraham Angle | Former deputy assistant Secretary of Defense Elbridge Colby joins 'The Ingraham Angle' to break down President Biden's meeting with Xi Jinping.......
November 14, 2022

A Dangerous Game Over Taiwan

The New Yorker | Some American officials and experts believe that China’s advantages will begin to wane later in the decade. A new generation of U.S. defense improvements is scheduled to come online, and America’s defense industrial base, now attenuated, will be revived—or so goes the hope.....
November 14, 2022

Bipartisanship Is Dead. Except on China.

Bloomberg | In part, no doubt, the consensus on China reflects a far-reaching reassessment of the global balance of power by the American political elite, based on their careful study of the subject....
November 14, 2022

Elbridge Colby Has It Right on Taiwan and Ukraine

The American Spectator | Elbridge Colby is one of the new generation of defense/national-security intellectuals in the mold of Andrew Marshall and Edward Luttwak, and, before them, Herman Kahn and Albert Wohlstetter....
November 13, 2022

A Nuclear Middle East: Preventing Proliferation | The Grand Strategy Summit

Richard Nixon Foundation | The fourth panel of the Grand Strategy Summit featured: Elbridge Colby (Moderator), Jon Alterman and Morgan Ortagus......
November 11, 2022

The Grand Strategy Summit: American Leadership in the 21st Century

Richard Nixon Foundation | The Grand Strategy Summit will gather top government officials and leaders from diplomatic, economic, defense and media sectors to chart a path forward for the United States to "meet its responsibilities of leadership," tackle the tumultuous geopolitical challenges of our time and develop innovative strategies that promote America's national interest in the 21st century. ......
November 10, 2022

“The euphoria in the US over Sweden’s entry into NATO is exaggerated”

Dagens Nyheter | The fact that Sweden joins NATO does not mean that we can relax and rely on American military help. For the United States, the war in Ukraine is a distraction, says Republican Elbridge Colby, who served in the Pentagon under Trump....
November 9, 2022

How America can save Taiwan

UnHerd | Current US policy is setting Washington up for a major crisis with its allies, especially in Europe...
November 6, 2022

Here’s Putin’s new plan: Lots of frost. Lots of refugees. Lots of discord

Politiken | It is only a few days ago that the US's former deputy defense minister under Donald Trump, the Republican Elbridge Colby, warned in Politiken that the US's involvement in Europe is on borrowed time.....
October 31, 2022

Former Trump advisor warns Europe against Joe Biden: He is sending the wrong signals

Politiken | Europeans hate to listen to people like him: But Donald Trump's former deputy defense secretary Elbridge Colby warns Europeans not to think the US will defend them as fiercely as it did during the Cold War. Taiwan and Asia have become more important to the US than Ukraine and Europe....
October 28, 2022

Why Japan Belongs in AUKUS: Tokyo Has Proved Its Mettle as a Security Partner

Foreign Affairs | Although none of the countries in AUKUS have publicly acknowledged any discussion of Japan’s inclusion in the alliance, some officials and former officials have expressed support for the move....
October 25, 2022

The Russia China Partnership: A Challenge to the World Order?

U.S. Naval Institute | The U.S. Naval Institute gathered government, military, and academic leaders to discuss great power competition and the influences and factors that are shaping the Russian and Chinese worldviews. ....
October 23, 2022

‘Distinct intensification’ of concerns about Taiwan

Sky News Australia | Former US deputy assistant secretary of defence Elbridge Colby says there’s a “distinct intensification” of concerns about Taiwan in the near-term....
October 22, 2022

無駄にする時間はない 日米は同盟強化へ手を尽くせ (There is no time to waste, Japan and the United States must do everything possible to strengthen the alliance)

Wedge Magazine (Japan) | China responded to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in August with large-scale military exercises. What is the path that Japan should take as "Taiwan emergency" becomes more realistic? What is China's internal situation? ...
October 19, 2022

Taiwan’s New Security Challenges: Economic and Military Security

Express UK | About the event: Taiwan is increasingly being tested by both military and economic security pressures from China. Beijing’s stepped-up manned and unmanned military activities and imposition of greater economic and military costs on other countries engaging in otherwise regular diplomatic.....
October 19, 2022

Top US official warns Xi Jinping plots to invade Taiwan ‘much faster’: ‘Different China’

Express UK | Following Mr Blinken's comments, Elbridge Colby, co-founder and principal of US strategy group The Marathon Initiative, said Washington must react to China’s mobilisation in kind......
October 19, 2022

‘Not Sure Taiwan’s Going to Survive,’ Defense Expert Warns of Xi’s Push for ‘Reunification’

The Daily Signal | “So, now it’s sort of pretty clear that the Chinese are thinking seriously of making a move. So, why aren’t we acting like it?” says Elbridge Colby, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development in the Defense Department......
October 18, 2022

US, Japan Australia should be on ‘mobilisation footing’ for potential war with China

The Australian | “Why are we not on a national mobilisation footing? If we get in a war we will have to be, but by then it may be too late,” said Mr Colby on social media on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT).....
October 16, 2022

Trying to solve the defense industry supply chain crunch

CNBC | The war in Ukraine and tensions with China have exacerbated a military supply chain that was already stretched thin. Can the defense industry adapt to the current climate of uncertain international politics?....
October 12, 2022

Taiwan war more likely sooner rather than later

The Australian | That “much faster timeline” leads many in the US national security community to consider the risks of conflict inside three or four years.....


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

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