Tom Bowman

Tom Bowman is a NPR National Desk reporter covering the Pentagon.

In his current role, Bowman has traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan often for month-long visits and embedded with U.S. Marines and soldiers.

Before coming to NPR in April 2006, Bowman spent nine years as a Pentagon reporter at The Baltimore Sun. Altogether he was at The Sun for nearly two decades, covering the Maryland Statehouse, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the National Security Agency (NSA). His coverage of racial and gender discrimination at NSA led to a Pentagon investigation in 1994.

Initially Bowman imagined his career path would take him into academia as a history, government, or journalism professor. During college Bowman worked as a stringer at The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass. He also worked for the Daily Transcript in Dedham, Mass., and then as a reporter at States News Service, writing for the Miami Herald and the Anniston (Ala.) Star.

Bowman is a co-winner of a 2006 National Headliners' Award for stories on the lack of advanced tourniquets for U.S. troops in Iraq. In 2010, he received an Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of a Taliban roadside bomb attack on an Army unit.

Bowman earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from St. Michael's College in Winooski, Vermont, and a master's degree in American Studies from Boston College.


Shots - Health News
5:18 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

From Battlefield To Boston: Marine Comforts Bombing Survivors

Marine Sgt. Maj. Damion Jacobs (left) and Marine Capt. Cam West visit with Boston emergency workers who responded to the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Oren Dorell for USA Today

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 1:17 pm

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National Security
3:20 am
Tue April 30, 2013

U.S. Faces Fight At Intersection Of Crime And Extremism

Gen. Antonio Indjai (left), Guinea-Bissau's army chief of staff, at the funeral of the country's late president, Malam Bacai Sanha, on Jan. 15, 2012. The U.S. says Indjai has been involved in drug trafficking, an allegation he denies. He recently eluded a U.S. sting operation that led to the capture of other officials from his country.
Mamadu Alfa Balde AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 3:27 pm

A suspected drug kingpin from the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau was captured on the high seas by agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency earlier this month, brought to Manhattan and is now awaiting trial.

The dramatic sting operation sheds light on what officials say is a growing national security threat: criminal networks teaming up with extremist organizations.

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National Security
11:02 am
Mon March 25, 2013

As Qualified Men Dwindle, Military Looks For A Few Good Women

Army recruits perform exercises as part of a demonstration for tourists in front of the military-recruiting station in New York's Times Square.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:59 pm

When the Pentagon said earlier this year that it would open ground combat jobs to women, it was cast in terms of giving women equal opportunities in the workplace — the military workplace.

But the move has practical considerations, too. The military needs qualified people to fill its ranks, and it's increasingly harder to find them among men.

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National Security
5:39 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

U.S. To Boost Missile Defense Amid Threats From North Korea

The Pentagon announced plans on Friday to beef up missile defense along the West Coast, in part to defend against the threat from North Korea. The Pentagon plans on adding 14 interceptor missiles to a base in Alaska, supplementing the 30 that are already there.

The Two-Way
7:03 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

U.S. Troops Train For Possible Mission To Secure Syrian Chemical Agents

Several weeks ago, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the U.S. is planning what to do about Syria's vast chemical weapons program once Bashar Assad's regime falls. The Syrians are believed to have hundreds of tons of chemical agents, including sarin, one of the deadliest chemical agents. A few drops can be lethal.

So the central question is this: How can those sites be secured so they don't fall into the wrong hands?

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5:35 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Sexual Assault Victims: Military's Criminal Justice System Is Broken

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 6:44 pm



A difficult conversation about the military occurred today at a Senate panel on Capitol Hill. Victims of sexual assault testified that the military's criminal justice system is broken. They spoke of commanders who brushed aside their claims, prosecutors who decided not to pursue charges, and a military culture that protects predators. The hearing comes after a general's decision to overturn an officer's conviction on sexual assault. NPR's Tom Bowman has the story.

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National Security
5:01 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Pentagon Won't Feel Most Of Sequester's Effects Until Summer

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 8:01 pm



This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Audie Cornish.

$46 billion: That's the amount the Pentagon must cut from its budget by the end of September under the new regime of austerity that kicks in today. This afternoon, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warned about the impact of that.

SECRETARY CHUCK HAGEL: Let me make it clear that this uncertainty puts at risk our ability to effectively fulfill all of our missions.

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5:12 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

As Sequestration Looms, Defense Civilians Face Furloughs

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 6:11 pm

Pentagon officials notified Congress on Wednesday that they will furlough some 800,000 defense civilians for one day per week should automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, kick in next month.

National Security
5:24 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Gen. John Allen To Retire, Not Pursue NATO Commander Nomination

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 6:42 pm



This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. The Marine general poised to lead all NATO forces has decided to resign. General John Allen served 38 years in the military, including as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. But his long career will also be remembered for his peripheral role in a recent scandal. Here's NPR's Tom Bowman.

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5:28 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Obama To Announce Withdrawal Of 34,000 U.S. Troops From Afghanistan

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 1:19 pm



The U.S. will bring home 34,000 troops from Afghanistan by this time next year. President Obama is expected to announce the news tonight in his State of the Union address. That will cut the force in half and set the stage for the pullout of most of the remaining U.S. troops by the end of 2014. The drawdown from Afghanistan is just one of several developments today on Capitol Hill that will have a big impact on the Pentagon.

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