June 20, 2018

CNAS Welcomes Elbridge Colby as Director of the Defense Program

Washington, D.C. June 20, 2018 – The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is pleased to announce today that Elbridge (Bridge) Colby will join CNAS as the new Director of the Defense Program and Senior Fellow. Colby comes to the Center from the Pentagon, where he has served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development. 

While at the Department, Colby served as the lead policy official in the development and rollout of Secretary Mattis’ National Defense Strategy, the Department’s preeminent strategic guidance document. The NDS, which reorients the Department on great power competition and regaining the Joint Force’s warfighting edge, is now the driving document for all the Department’s activities. 

In addition to his duties on the NDS, Colby also served as a lead policy official and representative on force development and program and budget issues, and oversaw OSD Policy’s role in strategic analysis. 

Earlier in his career Colby served in a variety of positions within DoD, the Department of State, and in the Intelligence Community, as well as on the staff of several blue-ribbon commissions working on a range of defense, strategic forces, WMD, and intelligence reform matters. 

Colby’s expertise and leadership are well known to CNAS. From 2014 to 2017, he was the Robert M. Gates Senior Fellow at the Center, focusing on issues relating to defense strategy, deterrence, nuclear weapons, conventional forces, U.S. alliances, and intelligence. 

As the newest CNAS program director, Colby joins a team of top experts who include Former Deputy Secretary of Defense and Senior Counselor for Defense at CNAS, Robert O. Work. Colby will lead a Defense program focused on anticipating, analyzing, and shaping the defense discussion as the Defense Department undergoes a fundamental shift towards great power competition and maintaining the war fighting edge in a rapidly evolving geopolitical and military-technological environment. 

“We’re excited to welcome Bridge back to the Center,” said CNAS CEO Victoria Nuland. “His work at the Pentagon on the National Defense Strategy demonstrated that he is one of America’s leading thinkers on today’s security challenges and the military force we need.  He will strengthen and deepen the Center’s work on the Force of the Future, and the challenges posed by new technologies and great power competition, and take our thought leadership to the next level.” 

Colby, who is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, has written widely on defense and foreign policy issues. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute of Strategic Studies and has been recognized with the Exceptional Public Service Award from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State.

To reach Bridge Colby or for more information about CNAS, please contact Madeline Christian at mchristian@cnas.org or 202-695-8166.