American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict | Elbridge Colby


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By Demetri Kofinas. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In Episode 261 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Elbridge Colby, co-founder and principal of The Marathon Initiative, an organization whose mission is to develop the diplomatic, military, and economic strategies that the United States will need to navigate a protracted era of great power competition. Colby has also served as US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development and was the chief architect of the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS), which was by some estimates the most significant revision of U.S. defense strategy since 9/11, if not since the end of the Cold War.

This is a conversation about the national security challenges that Elbridge Colby believes we face as a country, their urgency, and what is needed in terms of practical changes to our strategic objectives, the organization of our national defense, what we prioritize, and perhaps most importantly, our sense of mission, unity, and national purpose. Kofinas and Colby spend the first hour laying out the nature and scope of these challenges as they pertain to the Chinese Communist Party in particular, and to the degree that it acts in unison with Chinese objectives, the Russian Federation as well.

The second hour is broken into two parts, the first of which covers specifics on how to meet the challenge, while the second focuses on Taiwan where Elbridge makes the case for why he believes that an attack on the island nation by China is not only likely but may come much sooner than most pundits and military planners expect. The consequences of such an attack would not only be destabilizing for the current equilibrium in Asia, but could escalate into a global kinetic conflict with hypersonic missiles, space warfare, cyber-attacks, and God forbid, the use of nuclear weapons. Preventing such scenarios from unfolding should be at the very top of our list of national priorities. Today’s conversation is mean to help inform you about just how salient this threat is and what we can and perhaps should do about it.

You can access the full episode, transcript, and intelligence report to this week’s conversation by going directly to the episode page at and clicking on "premium extras." All subscribers gain access to our premium feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application.

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Episode Recorded on 07/19/2022

339 episodes