Aaron C. Davenport

Photo of Aaron Davenport
Senior Policy Researcher, International/Defense/Homeland Security/Safety & Health
Washington Office


M.S. in environmental sciences, occupational health, industrial hygiene, minor - hazardous materials, University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health


Aaron Davenport is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation. He served as White House Special Advisor for Homeland Security and Counter-Terrorism, serving Vice Presidents Cheney and Biden, and Executive Officer, Counterdrug Operations, US Southern Command. He retired as a senior officer in the US Coast Guard, where he served at sea aboard six ships including command of two large cutters, enforcing international drug trafficking treaties, performing cooperative security assistance, homeland security, maritime law enforcement and joint counterdrug operations throughout the Eastern Pacific, Atlantic, Caribbean and Bering Seas. He possesses decades of experience working cooperatively with several countries addressing security operations, illegal migration, maritime law enforcement and drug interdiction, including Colombia, and Central American and Caribbean nations. Davenport completed senior executive fellowships at RAND National Defense Research Institute and Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. He holds a Bachelors in Marine Sciences from the USCG Academy, and a Masters in Science in Environmental Sciences, with a certificate in Industrial Hygiene and a Minor in Hazardous Materials from UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. He recently served as an international expert panel member and paper presenter at the 2019 NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme, Advanced Research Workshop on Counterterrorism. Earlier research and analysis includes assessing border security efficacy in Northern Africa, the Caucasus, and an assessment of the USCG counterdrug program strategy, policy and metrics. He has written for several publications within the national and homeland security arena and is an expert on maritime and border security.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Previous Positions

White House Special Advisor for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism, Office of the Vice President of the United States, National Security and Homeland Security Affairs, 2007-2009; Chief, US Coast Office of Cutter Forces, Department of Homeland Security, 2011-2014; Deputy Chief, US Coast Guard Office of Counter-terrorism and Special Missions, Department of Homeland Security, 2005-2006; Executive Officer, Counter-drug Operations Division, US Southern Command Headquarters, Department of Defense, 2001-2003; Commanding Officer, US Coast Guard Cutters JARVIS, (2009-2010) VALIANT (2003-2005), Department of Homeland Security; Operations Officer, US Coast Guard Marine Safety and Group Office, Philadelphia, PA, Department of Transportation, 1988-1990,; Deputy Chief, Safety and Environmental Health Branch; Senior Industrial Hygienist, US Coast Guard Atlantic Area, Department of Transportation, 1995-1998

Recent Projects

  • Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center, DHS Science and Technology Maritime Domain Awareness Analysis of Alternatives
  • Project Air Force, Medical Operations in Denied and Contaminated Environments Threat Analysis
  • The World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program: Impact Assessment and Strategic Planning for Translational Research
  • USCG Evergreen - Future Strategic Planning and Emerging Policy
  • Security Cooperation and Security Governance - Ministry of National Security, RBDF, Bahamas

Selected Publications

Aaron C. Davenport and William C. Hinds, "Carbon Monoxide and Oxides of Nitrogen Exposure During Offloading of Car Carrier Vessels," Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

A.C. Davenport, T.J. Glynn, H. Rhambarose, "Coast Guard Exposure to Gasoline, MTBE, and Benzene Vapors During Inspection of Tank Barges," American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal

Savitz, et.al., Enhancing US Coast Guard Metrics, RAND Corporation (RR-1173), 2015

Tingstad, et.al., Identifying Potential Gaps in US Coast Guard Arctic Capabilities, RAND Corporation (RR-2310), 2017

Toland, Brendan, Michael Vasseur, Aaron C. Davenport, Scott Savitz, and Katheryn Giglio, Development of Standardized and Best Practices for the USCG Boats Acquisition Program, RAND Corporation (RR-2918), 2019

Davenport, Aaron C., Jonathan William Welburn, Andrew Lauland, Annelise Pietenpol, Marc Robbins, Erin Rebhan, Patricia Boren, and K. Jack Riley,, An Evaluation of the Department of Defense's Excess Property Program: Law Enforcement Agency Equipment Acquisition Policies, Findings, and Options, RAND Corporation, 2018

Gerstein, Daniel M., Anthony Atler, Aaron C. Davenport, Beth Grill, Amanda Kadlec, and William Young, Managing International Borders: Balancing Security with the Licit Flow of People and Goods, RAND Corporation, 2018

Honors & Awards

  • Defense Superior Service Medal, Secretary of Defense, Office of the Vice President of the United States
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Commander, U.S. Southern Command
  • 2019, 2017, 2016 Research and Analysis, Key Contributor Medal, RAND Corporation




  • Detroit police line up next to an armored vehicle following a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Detroit, Michigan, June 1, 2020, photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    How to Reform Military Gear Transfers to Police

    Police officers equipped like soldiers have appeared on the streets of American cities amid recent protests over George Floyd's killing. How should lawmakers reform a program that makes use of excess equipment and is popular with police departments, but that also raises substantial concerns about the militarization of policing?

    Jul 13, 2020 The Wall Street Journal