Larry Abramson

Larry Abramson is NPR's National Security Correspondent. He covers the Pentagon, as well as issues relating to the thousands of vets returning home from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prior to his current role, Abramson was NPR's Education Correspondent covering a wide variety of issues related to education, from federal policy to testing to instructional techniques in the classroom. His reporting focused on the impact of for-profit colleges and universities, and on the role of technology in the classroom. He made a number of trips to New Orleans to chart the progress of school reform there since Hurricane Katrina. Abramson also covers a variety of news stories beyond the education beat.

In 2006, Abramson returned to the education beat after spending nine years covering national security and technology issues for NPR. Since 9/11, Abramson has covered telecommunications regulation, computer privacy, legal issues in cyberspace, and legal issues related to the war on terrorism.

During the late 1990s, Abramson was involved in several special projects related to education. He followed the efforts of a school in Fairfax County, Virginia, to include severely disabled students in regular classroom settings. He joined the National Desk reporting staff in 1997.

For seven years prior to his position as a reporter on the National Desk, Abramson was senior editor for NPR's National Desk. His department was responsible for approximately 25 staff reporters across the United States, five editors in Washington, and news bureaus in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. The National Desk also coordinated domestic news coverage with news departments at many of NPR's member stations. The desk doubled in size during Abramson's tenure. He oversaw the development of specialized beats in general business, high-technology, workplace issues, small business, education, and criminal justice.

Abramson joined NPR in 1985 as a production assistant with Morning Edition. He moved to the National Desk, where he served for two years as Western editor. From there, he became the deputy science editor with NPR's Science Unit, where he helped win a duPont-Columbia Award as editor of a special series on Black Americans and AIDS.

Prior to his work at NPR, Abramson was a freelance reporter in San Francisco and worked with Voice of America in California and in Washington, D.C.

He has a master's degree in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Abramson also studied overseas at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and at the Free University in Berlin, Germany.

Pages

National Security
4:48 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Military's Green Energy Criticized By Congress

Originally published on Thu July 5, 2012 6:23 pm

The military says it's dangerous to depend exclusively on fossil fuels, and has launched a program to develop alternative fuels for use by military vehicles. Energy consumption is a big expense for the Pentagon. But some members of Congress don't think the military should be a laboratory for finding energy alternatives, and say the military should not be spending money on this kind of research at a time when defense dollars are shrinking.

Around the Nation
4:11 pm
Wed July 4, 2012

Military Service A Stepping Stone To American Dream

The military remains an appealing path to many, and data shows most vets earn more over their lifetime. But of course military service brings some serious risks, and doesn't always pay off in the short term.

Law
4:13 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Strikes Down Stolen Valor Act

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 7:32 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

More now on the Supreme Court where health care was not the only case decided today. The justices struck down the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a crime to lie about receiving military decorations or medals. The Court ruled it may be unethical to lie about receiving the Medal of Honor, but it's protected speech under the First Amendment.

NPR's Larry Abramson reports that veterans groups are disappointed, but they say the decision leaves room for Congress to try again.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:40 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Gays Slowly Gaining Acceptance In Military

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 9:06 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A first at the Pentagon today, an official ceremony to celebrate Gay Pride Month. It's the first chance for the military to mark the occasion openly since the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

NPR's Larry Abramson was there.

LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: Gay Pride celebrations often feature outrageous costumes, but the only get-ups in the Pentagon auditorium were military uniforms and business suits worn by civilian workers. The only rainbow colors were on the flags carried in by a color guard.

Read more
U.S.
3:05 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Pentagon Revamps Rules On Reporting Sex Crimes

Producer Amy Ziering and Director Kirby Dick accept an award at this year's Sundance Film Festival for their documentary The Invisible War, which looks at sex crimes in the military.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 9:48 am

The Pentagon has announced new steps to deter assaults and make it easier to prosecute offenders, a move that follows President Obama's recent remark that sexual assault "has no place" in the U.S. military.

Still, many victims believe it will be difficult to change a military culture that makes it tough for the victims to report these crimes.

For victims, the nightmare starts with the attack. Many say that things get worse when they try to do something about it.

Read more
National Security
4:55 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

50 Years After A Cold War Drama, A Silver Star

This undated photo of Francis Gary Powers shows him standing next to a U-2 spy plane. Powers was shot down and captured in the Soviet Union in 1960 and held for nearly two years. He was posthumously awarded a Silver Star at the Pentagon on June 15.
AP/Allied Museum

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 6:58 pm

When an experimental U.S. spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, the U.S. government quickly came up with elaborate cover stories.

"The plane [Soviet leader Nikita] Khrushchev reported shot down inside Russian territory presumably is an American, single-engine jet, a U-2 reported missing on a flight along the Turkish-Russian border last Sunday," a broadcast at the time said. "The national space agency has been flying these planes, 10 of them, in many parts of the world, studying the upper atmosphere."

Read more
National Security
5:08 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

The Pentagon's Biggest Threat In Years? Budget Cuts

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 7:32 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Pentagon says it's trying to fend off one of the biggest threats to national security in decades - budget cuts. As NPR's Larry Abramson reports, Pentagon officials are warning members of Congress to find a way out of a budget stalemate or risk undercutting the effectiveness of the nation's military.

LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: After more than a decade of fighting, Pentagon warriors are bracing for years of austerity. But Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says a leaner military does not have to be weaker.

Read more
Asia
4:48 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Panetta Calls On India To Step Up In Afghanistan

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 7:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. We focus now on changes in American military strategy. One war is over in Iraq and another is winding down in Afghanistan, so the Pentagon is asking where are America's strategic interests now? And its answer is in Asia and the Pacific. That's where Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has been traveling all week, outlining plans to place the region at the center of U.S. military strategy.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:06 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Get Out Of The Way Or Get Whacked: Scene From A Motorcade In Vietnam

They'd better get out of the way: A Hanoi street scene.
Peter Kneffel dpa/Landov

(NPR's Larry Abramson is among the correspondents traveling with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Asia this week. Monday, he told us about a poignant exchange of artifacts. Today, he gives us a glimpse of what it's like to be in the secretary's motorcade.)

Read more
The Two-Way
9:35 am
Mon June 4, 2012

U.S., Vietnam Exchange Pieces Of History: Two Soldiers' Last Writings

Vietnamese Minister of Defense Phuong Quang Thanh (right) presents the personal letters of U.S. Army Sgt. Steve Flaherty to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Jim Watson Pool/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 9:37 am

(NPR's Larry Abramson is among the correspondents traveling with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Asia this week. In Vietnam earlier today, the government there told Panetta it will open three new sites for excavation — in the hope of finding U.S. troops' remains.

Read more

Pages