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, directs field research for the Foreign Policy Research Institute, consults independently on international border management, and selectively coaches transitioning combat veterans. His third book, The Return: The Warrior Life After Combat, will be published in October 2014.
- "India Modi-Fied:" Hope, Change, and South Asia’s Future · E-Notes · June 2014
- The Thin Red Line: Policy Lessons from Iraqi Kurdistan · E-Notes · May 2014
- Anarchy is the New Normal: Unconventional Governance and 21st Century Statecraft · E-Notes · October 2013
- Bosnia Remembered – Part III: The Lessons of Bosnia · E-Notes · December 2012
- Bosnia Remembered – Part II: The Lost Generation · E-Notes · December 2012
- Bosnia Remembered – Part I: The Legacy of Jasenovac · E-Notes · December 2012
- How Borders Work · E-Notes · October 2012
- More FPRI Perspectives on Bin Laden’s Demise · E-Notes · May 2011
- Toward a U.S.-Mexico Security Strategy: The Geopolitics of Northern Mexico and the Implications for U.S. Policy · E-Books · February 2011
- Time for a New Approach to Mexico · E-Notes · December 2010
- The Geopolitics of Northern Mexico · E-Notes · November 2010
- Mexico: The Bicentennial and Beyond · E-Notes · October 2010
- How the U.S. and Mexico Can Take Back the Border—Together · E-Notes · May 2010
- The Many Faces of Mexico · Orbis · Winter 2011
- The Border Crisis · August 5, 2014
- Transforming Study Abroad · April 12, 2014
- West Africa Up Close · June 11, 2013
- The Art and Science of Doing Geopolitical Travel (Without Getting Killed) · March 13, 2013
- The Iraq War: 10 Years Later A Panel Discussion · March 6, 2013
- West Africa Up Close - (Audio) · June 11, 2013
- The Iraq War: 10 Years Later A Panel Discussion - (Audio) · March 6, 2013
- Bin Laden's Demise and Its Implications - (Audio) · May 4, 2011
- The Geopolitics Of Northern Mexico And The Implications For U.S. Policy - (Audio) · January 20, 2011
- Field Notes: Reading Lolita in Kurdistan · Geopoliticus · April 2, 2014
- Field Notes: A Protest in Odessa · Geopoliticus · March 18, 2014
- Field Notes: Barcelona, Spain · Geopoliticus · November 13, 2013
- Field Notes: Kinmen Island, Republic of China (Taiwan) · Geopoliticus · August 29, 2013
- Field Notes: Istanbul, Turkey · Geopoliticus · May 3, 2013
- Field Notes: Dakar, Senegal · Geopoliticus · April 6, 2013
- Field Notes: Dubai, United Arab Emirates · Geopoliticus · March 22, 2013
- Field Notes: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan · Geopoliticus · March 8, 2013
- Field Notes: Nuevo Laredo, Mexico · Geopoliticus · February 22, 2013
- Field Notes: Bosnia and Herzegovina · Geopoliticus · February 7, 2013