In an era of geopolitics & great power competition: What is America's best defence strategy?

invitation only · Webinar · 28.03.2022 15:00 - 16:00

invitation only

Much of the world is focused on the war in Ukraine, the destruction that Russia’s attack is causing, and Ukraine’s stalwart defence. The sanctions levied on Russia are a potent reminder of the strength of the transatlantic relationship. Yet for the U.S. as a global superpower, competition and cooperation with China and U.S. commitments to defend allies and buttress Taiwan’s defence remain core security policy interests. How will the United States navigate this perilous moment in global security, and how should its military be shaped to contribute to the national strategic goals? Elbridge Colby’s answer to the question, ‘what is the best defense strategy for America?’ will provide much food for thought for anyone seeking to understand these issues. Considering the U.S. role in European defence, inside and outside of the NATO framework, it is critical to understand what the implications may be if the United States focuses its military on the Indo-Asia-Pacific.


Elbridge Colby

co-founder and principal of The Marathon Initiative

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. He is the author of The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict (Yale University Press), which The Wall Street Journal selected as one of the top ten books of 2021. Previously, Colby was from 2018-2019 the Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security, where he led the Center’s work on defense issues. Before that, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development from 2017-2018. In that role, he served as the lead official in the development and rollout of the Department’s preeminent strategic planning guidance, the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS). The NDS shifted the Department of Defense’s focus to the challenges to U.S. military superiority and interests posed by China in particular followed by Russia, prioritizing restoring the Joint Force’s warfighting edge against these major power competitors. He also served as the primary Defense Department representative in the development of the 2017 National Security Strategy. Prior to this, Colby was from 2014 to 2017 the Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security. From 2010 to 2013 he was principal analyst and division lead for global strategic affairs at CNA. Earlier in his career he served for over five years in the U.S. Government working on a range of strategic forces, arms control, WMD, and intelligence reform matters, including service with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003 and with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during its stand-up in 2005-2006. Colby has also served on the staff of a number of government commissions, including the 2014 National Defense Panel, the 2008-2009 Strategic Posture Commission, and the 2004-2005 President’s WMD Commission. Colby is a recipient of the Distinguished and Exceptional Public Service Awards from the Department of Defense and of the Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Colby is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.


Pete Piirainen

Visiting Senior Fellow, FIIA

Pete Piirainen is a Visiting Senior Fellow at FIIA. He has worked in several positions in the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. He has also served as a defence counsellor in Finland’s Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels as well as in Washington D.C. He has specialised in defence policy, Finnish defence relations, the Baltic Sea defence architecture and transatlantic defence questions.


Charly Salonius-Pasternak

Leading Researcher, FIIA

Charly Salonius-Pasternak is a Leading Researcher at FIIA and leads the work of the Center on US Politics and Power (CUSPP). His work at FIIA focuses on international security issues, especially Nordic and transatlantic security (including NATO), as well as U.S. foreign and defence policy. Recently he has focused on Finnish-Swedish defence cooperation and the evolution of US and NATO alliance reassurance approaches in light of the changed regional security situation. In 2017, he was a visiting research fellow at the Changing Character of War programme at Pembroke College (Oxford University), where he studied the hybridization of warfare and the impact of the Information Age on the character of war.