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, a policy initiative focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition.

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 G. Grygiel

Dr. Jakub Grygiel is a senior advisor at The Marathon Initiative and a professor of politics at The Catholic University of America (Washington, DC). In 2017-2018 he was a Senior Advisor in the Office of Policy Planning at the Department of State.

Edward Luttwak

Dr. Edward N. Luttwak is a Distinguished Adjunct Fellow at The Marathon Initiative, a policy initiative focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition.

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.

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”

ScienceDirect | 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....

December 10, 2020

Under what conditions will we open to Russia

Limes Online | The first is certainly linked to its military equipment. Russia is the first nuclear power in the world , it has a modern atomic arsenal of about 6,000 warheads, therefore capable of destroying the planet several times.....

December 9, 2020

Biden to face wary allies after four years of Trump’s ‘America First’ rhetoric

Washington Post | Minor rifts between the United States and its closest allies widened into a gulf over the past four years, as President Trump left multinational agreements and undercut organizations the United States had helped found, including the United Nations and NATO....

December 8, 2020

Questions swirl over Austin’s limited experience

Politico | Joe Biden has a personal rapport with the retired four-star, but concerns have surfaced over whether he has the chops to tackle the array of global challenges.....

December 2, 2020

Interview with the former US Deputy Secretary of State

la Repubblica | from our correspondent Alberto D'Argenio BRUSSELS - NATO is alive and well, but it has to adapt to new challenges.....

December 1, 2020

NATO Should Expand Its Focus to Include China, Report Says

Wall Street JournalThe North Atlantic Treaty Organization should devote much more of its time and resources to security threats posed by China even while seeking to deter Russian aggression, a high-level assessment of the alliance’s future says in a report to be made public Tuesday....

November 30, 2020

NATO Needs to Adapt Quickly to Stay Relevant for 2030, Report Urges

New York TimesAfter France’s president said NATO was suffering “brain death,” the alliance sought advice on how to stay vibrant as it faces new challenges from Russia and China.....

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 3.49.49 PM
November 25, 2020

NATO 2030: United for a New Era

NATO | At the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Meeting of Heads of State and Government in London in December 2019, Alliance leaders asked the NATO Secretary General...

Screen Shot 2020-10-01 at 9.49.04 PM
November 21, 2020

Preparing for a new government’ in earnest…What are the challenges facing the Korean Peninsula?

CFTNI | Following the declaration of victory in the presidential election, former Vice President Joe Biden is in full swing taking over the regime by convening meetings with experts in diplomacy, intelligence and defense....

November 17, 2020

Taiwan Roundtable: Cross-Strait Relations in Pandemic Times

Sigur Center for Asian Studies GWU | Chinese pressure on Taiwan during these unprecedented pandemic times has been ratcheting up, not down.....


For press inquiries, please email us at

For all other inquiries, please email us at