Dr. A. Wess Mitchell is co-founder and principal at The Marathon Initiative, a policy initiative focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition.
Previously, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs from 2017 to 2019. In this role, he was responsible for diplomatic relations with the 50 countries of Europe and Eurasia, as well as the institutions of NATO, the EU, and OSCE. At State Department, Mitchell played a principal role in formulating Europe strategy in support of the 2017 National Security Strategy and 2018 National Defense Strategy, led the Interagency in building instruments to counter Russian and Chinese influence in Europe, and spearheaded new diplomatic initiatives for Central Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Balkans.
Prior to joining the State Department, Mitchell cofounded and served as President and CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). Mitchell is the author of numerous articles and reports that have been translated into more than a dozen languages. His work has appeared in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Washington Post, American Interest, National Interest, Orbis, and Internationale Politik. He is the author of three books, including Unquiet Frontier: Rising Rivals, Vulnerable Allies and the Crisis of American Power (with Jakub J. Grygiel) and most recently, The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire (Princeton University Press, 2018).
Mitchell holds a doctorate in political science from the Otto Suhr Institut für Politikwissenschaft at Freie Universität in Berlin, a master’s degree from the Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he received the 2004 Hopper Award, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Texas Tech University. During the 2012 Presidential campaign, Mitchell served on the national security team of Gov. Mitt Romney. From 2013 to 2016, he chaired the Europe Working Group of the John Hay Initiative. He has been awarded the Gold Medal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic, the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary, the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, and the Stanton Foundation Prize for writing in Applied History.
Mitchell formerly served as a senior advisor to the Secretary of State. He currently serves as the vice chairman of the board of directors at CEPA, senior advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and Non-Resident Fellow in the Applied History Project at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center. He is also a member of the International Advisory Council at Cambridge University’s Centre for Geopolitics.
In 2020, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg appointed Mitchell to co-chair, with former German Minister of Defense Thomas de Maiziere, the NATO Forward Looking Reflection Group, a ten-member consultative body charged with providing recommendations on the future of NATO.
A sixth generation Texan, Mitchell lives with his family in Virginia.
European Energy Security: U.S. Interests and Coercive Russian Diplomacy, Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation
- Predators on the Frontier, The American Interest, February 12, 2016 https://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/02/12/predators-on-the-frontier/
- The Case for Deterrence by Denial, The American Interest, August 12, 2015 https://www.the-american-interest.com/2015/08/12/the-case-for-deterrence-by-denial/
- Why Ukraine Can’t Be a Buffer State, Europe’s Edge, February 20, 2015
- A Preclusive Strategy to Defend the NATO Frontier, The American Interest, December 2, 2014 https://www.the-american-interest.com/2014/12/02/a-preclusive-strategy-to-defend-the-nato-frontier/
- Salami Slicing and Deterrence, The American Interest, November 18, 2014 https://www.the-american-interest.com/
- Limited War is Back, The National Interest, August 2014 https://nationalinterest.org/feature/limited-war-back-11128?page=0%2C1
- An American Strategy for Crimea, Polish Institute of International Affairs, March 3, 2014 https://cepa.ecms.pl/index/?id=276d18b2db1978d562fa17920c57977f
- The Future of U.S. Policy in Central Europe, Aspen Review Central Europe, December 2013 https://www.aspen.review/
- Atlanticism in Retreat, The American Interest, November 2013 https://www.the-american-interest.com/2013/10/10/atlanticism-in-retreat/
- America Needs its Frontline Allies Now More Than Ever, Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2013 https://www.wsj.com/
- The Vulnerability of Peripheries, The American Interest, February 2011 the-american-interest.com/2011/03/01/the-vulnerability-of-peripheries/
- Central Europe Outlook 2011: New Confidence, Looming Choices, Central Europe Digest, February 1, 2011
- Growing U.S.-Central European Ties, International Herald Tribune, April 6, 2010 https://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/opinion/07iht-edbrzezinski.html
- American ‘Decline’ Tested on Periphery First, Realclearworld, March 22, 2010 (co-author) https://www.realclearworld.com/
- The Perils of Losing Mitteleuropa, Realclearworld, September 22, 2009m https://www.realclearworld.com/
- How Central Europe Is Reshaping Global Politics, Der Spiegel, February 26, 2009. https://www.spiegel.de/
- U.S. Europe Policy, Version 3.0, Limes (Italian Journal of Geopolitics), Winter 2008 https://www.limesonline.com/en/europe-policy-30-new-ideas-for-an-old-continent
- Perhapsburg: What the EU Is and Isn’t, The American Interest, November/December 2008 https://www.the-american-interest.com/2008/11/01/perhapsburg/
- Obamas Hausaufgaben, Internationale Politik, December 15, 2008 https://internationalepolitik.de/de/obamas-hausaufgaben
- Gut gebrüllt, Maus! Wie Kleine Mächte ihr Gewicht in die Waagschale Werfen Können, Internationale Politik, July/August 2008 https://internationalepolitik.de/de/gut-gebruellt-maus
- Empire by Devolution: What the EU Can Learn from the Empire of Franz Joseph I, Orbis, Summer 2008 https://www.fpri.org/article/2008/07/empire-devolution-todays-eu-can-learn-franz-josef-empire/
- The Godfather Doctrine: A Foreign Policy Parable, Princeton University Press, 2009 https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctv7h0tms
Book Chapters and Reports
- Rebuilding America’s Alliances: Europe in Choosing to Lead: American Foreign Policy for a Disordered World, John Hay Initiative, 2015 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28186998-choosing-to-lead
- Frontline Allies: War and Change in Central Europe, CEPA Strategic Assessment. Group, November 2015 (co-editor) https://cepa.ecms.pl/
- A Deterrence-by-Denial Strategy for the Baltic in Frontline Allies: War and Change in Central Europe, CEPA Edited Volume, November 2015 https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep06281.14?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
- Central European Security After Crimea: The Case for Strengthening NATO’s Eastern Defenses, CEPA Report No. 35, March 25, 2014 http://cepa.ecms.pl
- The Ties that Bind: U.S.-Central European Relations 25 Years After the Transition,
- CEPA Edited Volume, November 2013 (co-editor) https://cepa.ecms.pl/
- The Anchorless Pivot: Where Central Europe Should Fit in America’s ‘Pacific Century” in Navigating Uncertainty: U.S.-Central European Relations 2012, CEPA Edited Volume, July 2012
- Translating Opportunity into Impact, Central Europe in the EU,2010-2020, The Polish Quarterly of International Affairs, December 2011 https://www.ceeol.com/search/article-detail?id=162648
- Building the New Normal: U.S.-Central European Relations 2010-2020, CEPA Edited Volume, April 2011 (co-editor)
- Hingepoint Allies: Bolstering U.S. Alliances with Exposed States in Central Europe, East Asia and the Middle East, CEPA Report No. 32, October 2010
- Keeping New Allies: An Assessment of U.S. Policy in Central Europe, Report of CEPA Working Group, July 2010 (co-author)
- S.-Central Europe Relations in the Age of Obama, CEPA Edited Volume, July 2009 (co-author) https://cepa.ecms.pl/
- Tipping the Scales: Why Central Europe Matters to the United States, Center for European Policy Analysis, May 2006 http://www.ncpathinktank.org/pdfs/CEPATippingtheScales.pdf