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

October 8, 2021

Virtual Event | A Book Talk with Elbridge A. Colby

Hudson Institute | Join Hudson Institute for a virtual discussion with Elbridge A. Colby on his critically acclaimed new book, “The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict......

October 8, 2021

Polarization At Home and the Fight Abroad: Part 2 of Wisdom of Crowds with Elbridge Colby.

Wisdom of Crowds | Wisdom of Crowds discusses the impact polarization is having on America abroad with Elbridge Colby. Are new domestic alliances among populists on the left and right possible after Trump? And is that a good thing?.....

October 8, 2021

Wisdom of Crowds | Episode 72: Fighting China for All The Right Reasons

Wisdom of Crowds | Elbridge Colby joins Shadi and Damir to talk about his challenging new book The Strategy of Denial, an unflinchingly clinical argument for confronting China.....

October 7, 2021

The Evolving Military Balance in the Taiwan Strait

Council on Foreign Relations | Panelists discuss the risk of an armed conflict between the United States and China over Taiwan and how the United States should adapt its defense strategy to meet the China challenge.......

October 5, 2021

Mounting tensions between U.S., China raise new fears of threat to Taiwan

Politico | “[T]hings are going badly for Beijing at the political level,” said Elbridge Colby, a former Trump Pentagon official who is now a principal at the think tank the Marathon Initiative.....

October 5, 2021

We Should Arm Taiwan to the Teeth

National Review | It should be our objective to keep China at bay, toward the goal of keeping it from establishing its dominance over Asia, as former Trump defense official Elbridge Colby argues in his compelling new book The Strategy of Denial.....

October 5, 2021

China is Threatening the Island of Taiwan with Nuclear Bombers — How Worried Should We Be?

The Telegraph | The deployment of ground-based conventionally-armed missiles across the Pacific was controversial but necessary for an effective deterrent against China’s rapidly advancing military capabilities, said Elbridge Colby, author of “The Strategy of Denial,” which focuses on Us-china confrontation.......

October 2, 2021

France and Greece hedge their bets with a new defence pact

The Economist | But such bilateral deals are bad news for nato, says Wess Mitchell, an American former state department official who co-chaired a reflection group for the alliance last year......

September 30, 2021

How do Westminster and Washington justify AUKUS?

ABC - Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Will our new security alliance with the US and the UK just provoke China? Foreign-policy experts in both Washington and Westminster say that it is, rather, the rising threat of China that has made the collaboration so necessary for Australia.......

September 30, 2021

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

The Reagan Institute | The Reagan Institute invites you to join Elbridge Colby and Mike Gallagher for a conversation on Mr. Colby’s newest book, The Strategy of Denial. This virtual event brings together two defense experts to discuss the pressing issues addressed in Mr. Colby’s book such as the evolving global threat environment, the challenge of a rising China, and recommendations for strengthening American national security through “deterrence by denial.”......

September 28, 2021

Elbridge Colby: The Strategy of Denial | AHS Virtual Book Talk

The Alexander Hamilton Society | The Alexander Hamilton Society hosted a virtual book launch with Elbridge Colby on his new book, 'The Strategy of Denial.' In this book, he lays out how America’s defense must change to address China’s growing power and ambition. ......

September 27, 2021

Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs | A Path Forward for U.S. Defense Strategy

Yale University | During the discussion, moderated by ISS director Arne Westad, Colby emphasized that strategy is not a master plan but a framework to make decisions amidst uncertainty and scarcity......

September 27, 2021

‘The Next Revolution’ – Elbridge Colby: China is After World Domination

FOX News | China's quest to take Taiwan is a stepping stone to their interests in world domination, foreign policy expert Elbridge Colby said on 'The Next Revolution.'......

September 27, 2021

Top Defense Expert Warns China ‘Likely To Go For An Invasion’ Of Taiwan, Reveals What U.S. Must Do

Yale University | Elbridge Colby, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development, warned during an interview on Sunday night that China is likely to try to invade Taiwan and that the U.S. must be prepared to use military force to counter an attack.......

September 26, 2021

Column: A new military alliance, a summit meeting: The U.S.-China face-off is looking like the Cold War

Los Angeles Times | The standard view in Asia is that Taiwan is the canary in the coal mine,” said Elbridge Colby, a former Pentagon official whose new book, “The Strategy of Denial,” focuses on the U.S.-China confrontation.....

September 24, 2021

Why Colby’s strategy of denial is aggression packaged as ‘management’

Responsible Statecraft | Elbridge Colby’s “The Strategy of Denial” is a carefully argued, methodical book, but a key part of its thesis would commit the United States to overextension in East Asia that would be dangerous for U.S. and allied interests......

September 23, 2021

Grounded with Jim Banks – Elbridge Colby

Grounded with Jim Banks | Author Elbridge Colby joins “Grounded with Jim Banks” this week to discuss his newly released book “The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict,” which lays out a military strategy to prevent Chinese hegemony in Asia. .....

September 22, 2021

Senator Marco Rubio: How to Use America’s New Peace Dividend

The American Conservative | While the Chinese Communist Party has been on a shipbuilding spree, the United States is stagnant. We cannot successfully refocus on the Indo-Pacific region, protect our critical trade routes, and discourage Beijing’s aggression if our Navy cannot project power or maintain order in critical areas......

September 21, 2021

Australia’s Submarines Make Waves in Asia Long Before They Go to Sea

The New York Times | “If you’re China, this also makes you think, ‘Well, I better get ahead of this,’” said Elbridge Colby, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Trump administration.....

September 20, 2021

Former U.S. Defense Official on the AUUKUS Pact

CNBC | “If it had to be this way, it had to be this way, with all due respect to our French allies” Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development Elbridge Colby tells CNBC on the AUUKUS Pact....


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

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