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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Afghanistan
4:17 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Obama Sets A Number For U.S. Troop Levels In Afghanistan

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 7:58 pm

President Obama intends to keep a force of 9,800 American troops after the end of 2014. The troops will remain in the country in order to train Afghan forces and support counterterrorism operations. By the end of 2016, all U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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National Security
4:04 am
Mon May 26, 2014

One Of Many: Remembering A Fallen Son On Memorial Day

The Boelk family celebrates Christmas in 2009. This is the last family photo that was taken before their son James was killed in Afghanistan.
Courtesy of the Boelk family

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 7:20 pm

Sometime on Monday, Dave and Cilicia Boelk will visit the grave of their son James, not far from their home in Manassas, Va. It's Memorial Day.

Lance Cpl. James Boelk was a Marine killed in Afghanistan in the fall of 2010. Dave Boelk admits that Memorial Day was never all that special. Like most Americans it just signaled the beginning of summer, a day of picnics and car sales.

"It really didn't mean a whole lot to me either until our son was killed, so I can't slight people for going off and having a good time," Boelk says.

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Africa
4:39 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

To Help Nigeria Find Missing Girls, U.S. Sends In Airborne Support

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 8:18 pm

The U.S. has deployed surveillance aircraft to Nigeria in the search for the more than 250 schoolgirls still missing. Imagery gathered by the aircraft and satellites will be shared with the Nigerian government.

Around the Nation
4:57 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Medal Of Honor Recipient Dodged Bullets To Help Wounded Soldiers

President Obama awards the Medal of Honor to former Army Sgt. Kyle White, who saved the life of a fellow soldier, called in U.S. airstrikes and helped evacuate the wounded during a firefight with the Afghan Taliban in 2007.
AP

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 7:26 pm

President Obama on Tuesday awarded the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award for combat bravery, to former Army Sgt. Kyle White. Obama described how — during a firefight in Afghanistan — White single-handedly saved the life of a fellow soldier and then helped evacuate the wounded during a firefight with the Afghan Taliban.

" 'When you're deployed,' he later said, 'those people become your family. What you really care about is, I want to get this guy to the left and to the right home,' " Obama said of White.

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Middle East
5:20 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Syrian Opposition Leader To Meet With White House Official

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 9:58 am

Key Syrian opposition leader Ahmed al-Jarba is expected at the White House on Tuesday to meet with National Security Advisor Susan Rice. The Syrian civil war has been raging for more than three years.

Middle East
4:11 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

After Setbacks In Battle, Syrian Rebels Seek Victories In D.C.

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 8:45 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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The Two-Way
6:05 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Defense Intelligence Agency Chief Will Step Down

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
DIA Public Affairs

The Army general who heads the Defense Intelligence Agency is leaving a year early and retiring.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but sources say he's stepping down because he's fed up with bureaucratic fights in Washington.

Flynn is expected to announce his retirement within the next week.

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Middle East
4:31 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

CIA Acts In Syria, Slipping Weapons To Rebels In Secret

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:17 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The relentless use of conventional weapons by Syria's government against its citizens may have pushed Washington to step up its involvement there. A new covert U.S. program is sending arms to Syria to help rebel forces. Another reason for that new effort: the failure of diplomatic talks in Geneva to resolve the three-year-old civil war. NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman has learned details of the arms program.

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Parallels
5:08 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

CIA Is Quietly Ramping Up Aid To Syrian Rebels, Sources Say

Syrian President Bashar Assad (right) visits the Christian village of Maaloula, near Damascus on Sunday. Assad's forces have been gaining the upper hand in the fighting, and the CIA is now increasing training and aid to Syrian rebels.
AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:13 pm

The U.S. is providing more arms and training to the moderate rebels in Syria, under a growing secret program run by the CIA in Jordan. Sources tell NPR that secret program could be supplemented by a more public effort in the coming months involving American military trainers.

The change in strategy comes as the White House sees Syrian leader Bashar Assad growing in strength, and continuing to strike rebel strongholds.

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National Security
3:53 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Army Vs. National Guard: Who Gets Those Apache Helicopters?

An airborne Apache attack helicopter takes off above a Black Hawk helicopter from the South Carolina Army National Guard base in Eastover, S.C., in 2007. The Army is planning to move all the National Guard's Apache helicopters to the regular Army, a move opposed by many in the Guard.
Mary Ann Chastain AP

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 6:38 pm

For decades the National Guard has fought hard against the stereotype that it was the place to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War, or that it's a place to get college money rather than combat duty.

Guard leaders thought that after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq they had finally earned some respect. So it was a body blow when the Army's top officer, Gen. Ray Odierno, unveiled his plan on Capitol Hill to take all of the National Guard's Apache helicopters and move them to the regular Army.

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