David Danelo

David Danelo

David J. Danelo writes about international affairs, consults on border security and management, investigates geopolitical risk, advocates for and coaches U.S. military veterans, and conducts global field research.

A 1998 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Danelo served seven years as a Marine Corps infantry officer, including a 2004 Iraq deployment as a convoy commander, intelligence officer and provisional executive officer. After leaving the Marines, Danelo’s initial freelance assignments came in 2005, when he reported on U.S. military strategy from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti, from the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, and postwar observations from Vietnam for a widely read U.S./Vietnamese newspaper. From 2006-2007, Danelo edited an Iraq War blog and wrote for the Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Marine Corps Gazette, Military.com, and Parade Magazine.

Hailed “a love letter to grunts” and “a superb account of war,” Danelo’s first book, Blood Stripes: The Grunt’s View of the War in Iraq, narrated the heroism and endurance of five enlisted infantrymen during a 2004 deployment. The Military Writers Society of America awarded Blood Stripes a 2006 Silver Medal, and General James Mattis listed the book among mandatory reading for Marines deploying to combat. For his second book, The Border: Exploring the U.S.-Mexican Divide, Danelo traveled the entire US-Mexico border for three months, seeing the area through an eclectic mix of local eyes. The Economist endorsed his “personal and readable account,” and The Border earned a spot on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner’s reading list.

In 2009, the Foreign Policy Research Institute of Philadelphia appointed David Danelo a senior fellow. For the next two years, he spent extensive time in northern Mexico, writing and speaking often about the region. During and after the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, Danelo was among the first to call for increased partnership between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement, which was then considered a politically controversial position. Today, both parties consider U.S.-Mexico partnership as a cornerstone of their policy to establish and sustain North America’s regional security.

In June 2011, Danelo was appointed to direct policy and planning within the Department of Homeland Security. While serving in government, he stabilized and led a policy and planning team, helped create the U.S. Border Patrol’s four year strategic plan, and developed U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s first-ever integrated planning guidance, enabling agency leaders to align five year funding projections with U.S. national security strategy. He returned to the private sector in August 2012.

Today, David Danelo writes about international affairs and conducts global field research for the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Danelo also consults independently on international border management and geopolitical risk investigation, and sits on the strategic advisory board for the Balkan Security Agenda.

Finally, Danelo selectively coaches transitioning combat veterans who seek an entrepreneurial path. He teaches warriors to apply courage in civilian life, encourages them to interpret post-traumatic stress as an asset instead of a disorder, and is at work on a related writing project.

David J. Danelo
Director of Field Research
Senior Fellow, Program on National Security

Foreign Policy Research Institute
1528 Walnut Street, Suite 610

Philadelphia, PA 19102 USA