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Elbridge A. Colby

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development

Elbridge A. Colby served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development, in which capacity he was responsible for defense strategy, force development, and strategic analysis for OSD Policy. During 2017 and early 2018, Colby served as the Department of Defense co-lead for the development of the Department's premier strategic planning guidance, the National Defense Strategy, which was released in January 2018 and focuses the Department on major power competition and sustaining the Joint Force’s military edge in a more competitive era. Colby is also responsible for developing the Defense Planning Guidance and the Defense Planning Scenarios, and serves as a lead Policy representative to the Program and Budget Review and Support for Strategic Analysis processes. 

Prior to entering government service, Colby was from 2014 to 2017 the Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and from 2010 to 2013 a 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 at the Department of Defense, Department of State, and in the Intelligence Community working on a range of strategic forces, WMD, and intelligence reform matters, including service with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003. Colby has also served as a staff member for or consultant to 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 the author of many book chapters, reports, and articles on defense and foreign policy issues, and co-edited a volume on Strategic Stability: Contending Interpretations. He has testified before Congress and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Colby is a recipient of the Exceptional Public Service Award from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and of the Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State. He is 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.