The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict
James Madison Program Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship
Elbridge Colby, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development, co-founder of The Marathon Initiative
Join us for a discussion with Elbridge Colby about his book, The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict. Colby was the lead architect of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the most significant revision of U.S. defense strategy in a generation. Here he lays out how America’s defense must change to address China’s growing power and ambition. Based firmly in the realist tradition but deeply engaged in current policy, this book offers a clear framework for what America’s goals in confronting China must be, how its military strategy must change, and how it must prioritize these goals over its lesser interests.
The most informed and in‑depth reappraisal of America’s defense strategy in decades, this book outlines a rigorous but practical approach, showing how the United States can prepare to win a war with China that we cannot afford to lose—precisely in order to deter that war from happening.
Elbridge A. Colby is co‑founder and principal of The Marathon Initiative. He served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development from 2017 through 2018, during which he led the development of the 2018 National Defense Strategy. He is the author of "The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict," which The Wall Street Journal selected as one of the top ten books of 2021.