David J. Danelo,
who directs the Field Research Program at FPRI and serves as a Senior Fellow in its Program on National Security, 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
(Stackpole, 2006), 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
(Stackpole, 2008), 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, and consulted as a subject matter expert on border management for government and academic clients. From June 2011-August 2012, he directed policy and planning for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, within the Department of Homeland Security. His third book, The Return: A Field Manual for Life After Combat
(Black Irish, 2014), narrated his personal philosophy of how warriors reconcile themselves to civilian life following violent conflict. Since 2014, Danelo has served as FPRI’s director of field research, developing a curriculum to teach students and professionals how to travel abroad. His next book, The Field Research Handbook: A Guide to the Art and Science of Professional Fieldwork
, is slated for 2016 publication by Georgetown University Press.