Elbridge Colby

Research Analyst
Strategic Studies / Strategic Initiatives Group
  • U.S. nuclear weapons policy
  • Deterrence
  • WMD proliferation
  • Arms control
  • Intelligence policy and reform

Elbridge Colby is a research analyst in CNA’s Strategic Initiatives Group, where he focuses on strategic deterrence, proliferation, intelligence policy, and related issues.

Recent Work

Strategic stability with Russia and China; future strategy for the U.S. Navy; Middle East contingencies; consultant to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Global Security Directorate, the U.S. Strategic Command, the National Intelligence Council, and other government bodies.

Previous Positions

From 2009 to 2010 Colby served as policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense’s Representative for the follow-on to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, serving first on the delegation in Geneva and then as a Department of Defense point man for the treaty ratification effort. He previously served as an expert advisor to the Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, as special assistant to the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as a staff member on the President’s WMD Commission, and with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and the State Department. He has also been an adjunct staff member with the RAND Corporation and has served as a consultant to the U.S. Nuclear Command and Control System Federal Advisory Committee.


B.A., in History, Harvard College; J.D., Yale Law School.

Selected Publications
  • Chapters on the U.S. nuclear force, U.S. alliances, deterring WMD terrorism, and ways to address the challenge of a nuclear Iran in In the Eyes of the Experts: Analysis and Comments on America’s Strategic Posture, Taylor A. Bolz, ed. (United States Institute of Peace, 2009).
  • “Requirements for Deterrence: Two Challenging Scenarios,” STRATEGIC INSIGHTS 8 NO. 4 (Sept. 2009).
  • “Expanded Deterrence,” POLICY REVIEW 149 (June/July 2008).
  • “Making Intelligence Smart,” POLICY REVIEW 144 (August/Sept. 2007).
  • “Restoring Deterrence,” ORBIS 51 No. 2 (Summer 2007).
  • (with T. Moore) “Maintaining the Triad: U.S. Bomber Force Needs a New Nuclear Cruise Missile,” Armed Forces Journal (December 2010).
Selected CNA Corp. Research
Recent News & Information
  • Event: Strategic Command Deterrence Symposium – Aug 13-14

    CNA Corp. analyst Elbridge Colby to participate in a panel discussion on "Mutually Assured Stability (MAS) vs. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)"

  • CNA Corporation in the News: January 17, 2014

    The Diplomat quotes CNA analyst Elbridge Colby in "The Benefits of Being Clear on Taiwan"

  • Commentary: December 16, 2013

    Air University Press publishes Thinking About Deterrence with a chapter on "Why Nuclear Deterrence Is Still Relevant" by CNA analyst Elbridge Colby

  • Commentary: December 3, 2013

    War on the Rocks posts "The War Over Future War: Repelling a Ground Assault on AirSea Battle" by CNA analyst Elbridge Colby

  • Commentary: October 18, 2013

    The National Interest publishes "Can We Save Taiwan?" by CNA analyst Elbridge Colby

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