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.

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Middle East
5:09 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Despite Coalition Partners, U.S. Has Done Most Airstrikes Against ISIS

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 2:24 pm

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The Two-Way
12:35 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

U.S. Classifies Some Basic Statistics About Afghan Security Forces

The American command in Afghanistan has for the first time in six years classified detailed statistics about the Afghan security forces — everything from equipment and training to attrition.

Gen. John Campbell, who is leading the NATO coalition's non-combat mission in Afghanistan, said he now considers all that sensitive operational information that could help the Taliban.

Campbell said he decided to classify details about the Afghan forces because they could be used by insurgent fighters to threaten both Afghan and U.S. forces.

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Middle East
4:37 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

How A Single Town In Syria Became A Symbol Of The War Against ISIS

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:23 pm

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Middle East
5:07 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Yemen In Chaos Amid Reports Of Government's Collapse

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 9:27 pm

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Iraq
4:51 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Hundreds Of U.S. Military Trainers Headed For Iraq

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:34 pm

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Parallels
4:56 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

After Years Of Conflict, U.S. Mission Shifts In Afghanistan

U.S. Gen. John Campbell (left) and Command Sgt. Maj. Delbert Byers open the Operation Resolute Support flag during a ceremony at the International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday.
Massoud Hossaini AP

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 6:01 pm

On this last day of 2014, America's troops in Afghanistan are still a combat force.

On Thursday, their mission changes.

"We will be ending our combat mission in Afghanistan, obviously because of the extraordinary service of the men and women in the American armed forces," President Obama said during a recent visit with Marines and their families in Hawaii.

But there will still be more than 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

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National Security
4:58 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

New Details Emerge In Failed Yemen Hostage Rescue

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 10:49 am

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Back At Base
3:42 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Combat Training: Can Female Marines Get The Job Done?

Katie Gorz (left) performs the ammo can lift next to male Marines as they go through the combat fitness test. The Marine Corps is experimenting with inserting some women into combat infantry roles that have historically been limited to men. At Camp Lejeune, female Marines are undergoing the same training as their male counterparts for combat arms.
Travis Dove for NPR

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 9:46 am

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base."

Lance Cpl. Jasmine Abrego is an office clerk who dreams of becoming a warrior.

She's flat on her stomach in the dirt, in full combat gear. Suddenly she pops up, slings a 44-pound metal tripod on her back and lurches forward in a crablike run. Finally, she slams the tripod to the ground. A male Marine slaps a .50-caliber machine gun into place.

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Iraq
4:32 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

White House Will Send 1,500 Military Personnel To Iraq

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 8:11 pm

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Parallels
4:46 am
Thu October 30, 2014

With Limited Gains, U.S. Bombing Campaign Faces Growing Criticism

Iraqi soldiers walk in Jurf al-Sakhr, south of the capital Baghdad, on Monday after Iraqi military forces retook the area from Islamic State militants. Iraqi forces, supported by U.S. airstrikes, have made limited gains in recent months, but critics are questioning whether the U.S. strategy is likely to succeed.
Haidar Mohammed Ali AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 2:25 pm

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been on the defensive recently about the strategy to take on the Islamic State. American warplanes have been bombing targets in Iraq and Syria, but militant fighters are still on the move.

"We have made it very clear, I have and President Obama has, that this is a long, difficult effort," Hagel said.

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