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.
- "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 ·
- Bosnia Remembered – Part II: The Lost Generation · E-Notes ·
- Bosnia Remembered – Part I: The Legacy of Jasenovac · E-Notes ·
- How Borders Work · E-Notes ·
- 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 ·
- Time for a New Approach to Mexico · E-Notes ·
- The Geopolitics of Northern Mexico · E-Notes ·
- Mexico: The Bicentennial and Beyond · E-Notes ·
- How the U.S. and Mexico Can Take Back the Border—Together · E-Notes ·
- The Many Faces of Mexico · Orbis · Winter 2011
- The Border Crisis - (Audio) ·
- West Africa Up Close - (Audio) ·
- The Iraq War: 10 Years Later A Panel Discussion - (Audio) ·
- Bin Laden's Demise and Its Implications - (Audio) ·
- The Geopolitics Of Northern Mexico And The Implications For U.S. Policy - (Audio) ·
- 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
In the news
- FPRI's David Danelo Interviewed by War on the Rocks on His New Book, "The Return: A Field Manual for Life After Combat" · Geopoliticus · December 10, 2014
- FPRI's David Danelo on Life After Combat · Geopoliticus · November 10, 2014
- FPRI's David Danelo Writes in the American Interest on the Border Crisis · Geopoliticus · October 10, 2014
- FPRI's David Danelo Writes for ISN Zurich on ISIS and the Fate of a Free Middle East · Geopoliticus · September 3, 2014