The Journal

The Strategy Of Denial: American Defense In An Age Of Great Power Conflict

"Colby, the lead architect of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, here lays out—realistically, concretely and in plain-spoken American English—how Washington must act decisively to check Beijing’s growing power and ambition.” -Wall Street Journal


Elbridge A. 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 on 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.

This book appears in Yale Books.


  • ISBN-10: 0300256434
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300256437
  • Language: English
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publication Date: September 14, 2021
Elbridge A. Colby

Elbridge A. Colby

CoFounder & Principal, The Marathon Initiative

Elbridge A. Colby is cofounder 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.

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