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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Donald Trump famously said, quote, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me." But he also said, quote, "I love the generals." And he seems to want them as close advisers. He's tapped Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as national security adviser. And today, he will formally announce General James Mattis as his pick for secretary of defense. And he could pick retired General David Petraeus as...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Donald Trump announced his choice to be defense secretary. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) DONALD TRUMP: We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis... (CHEERING) TRUMP: ...As our secretary of defense. SHAPIRO: And NPR's Tom Bowman joins us now to talk about General James Mattis. Tom, what can you tell us about him? TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Well, it's not over the top, Ari, to say he's a living legend in the Marine Corps...

Michael Flynn, Donald Trump's planned choice for National Security Adviser, is perhaps best known to the American public for his fiery speech at the Republican National Convention in the summer, when he spoke to chants of "lock her up," a reference to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton — and joined in himself. It was a strange position for someone who was a career military officer and a registered Democrat from Rhode Island. Within military circles, Flynn was a highly respected —...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The military is famous for working long hours, not only on overseas deployments to hot spots like Iraq or Afghanistan but back home, too. It's almost a badge of honor. So balancing work and family life can be especially difficult for those in uniform. Take Air Force Maj. Johanna Ream. She's working a high-powered, top-secret job. Her husband's an Air Force cargo plane pilot who flies all over the world. And they were the parents of an infant named Jack when this happened: "I was pregnant with...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: In Syria, the future of a cease-fire and a pledge of cooperation between the U.S. and Syria are all up in the air. That's after a U.S. coalition airstrike hit Bashar al-Assad's forces in eastern Syria killing at least 62 and wounding dozens more. For more on the story, we turn now to NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman. Tom, thanks so much for joining us. TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Sure. Good to be here. MARTIN: So...

Today in the skies over New Mexico, Air Force students are practicing for the kill. They sit at terminals at Holloman Air Force Base, watching grainy images from a drone video feed. Thousands of feet below, at a desert training range, role players portray civilians and fighters inside a village. The students must find the proper target, then with a push of a button, they unleash a simulated airstrike. This new world of aerial combat began in the early morning hours of Oct. 7, 2001. Air Force...

A Turkish admiral who just wrapped up a NATO job in Norfolk, Va., last month is being pursued by Turkish officials, who say he was part of the failed July 15 coup in Turkey. U.S. officials say Rear Adm. Mustafa Zeki Ugurlu is considering seeking asylum in either the U.S. or another NATO country. A spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Steve Blando, said, "We cannot comment on any specific asylum requests." Ugurlu left his military identification at his office in Norfolk...

The Afghan army commander said the treacherous road to Marjah, in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand, was now safe. His forces had driven out the Taliban a few days earlier, he added. "The road is open, so no problem," said Lt. Gen. Moeen Faqir. "Of course I hope you go there and find the reality and reflect it." Photojournalist David Gilkey and I traveled to Afghanistan many times. In our trip to eastern Afghanistan last year, we found an Afghan army willing to fight, but it was...

The American Green Berets were seated around a long, plywood table at their base when they spotted the Taliban counterattack on their screens. The burly Americans were working on computers, drinking coffee and munching on chips and peanut butter cookies. Their team leader answered an ever-ringing phone, giving his superiors updates on an Afghan commando mission in the mountains just north of Afghanistan's Kandahar Airfield. The Green Berets could see the progress of the mission on a massive...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

With American troops mostly focused on training Afghan soldiers, the hospital on the sprawling Bagram Airfield doesn't have many combat trauma cases anymore. In fact, it just has one. A 6-year-old girl, caught in a firefight between American and Afghan soldiers and Taliban insurgents, has been in intensive care since she was shot earlier this year. The gun battle killed her father, a Taliban fighter, along with her mother and some siblings. It's not clear who fired the bullet that struck her....

The Pentagon hopes an ISIS chemical weapons engineer captured in Iraq last month will lead U.S. troops to possible weapons sites and help prevent chemical attacks by the Islamic State. Defense officials hope that Sleiman Daoud al-Afari will help them find storage sites for chemical munitions including mustard agent, which can blister the skin and lungs and lead to death in high concentrations. Iraqi officials told the Associated Press that al-Afari worked for Saddam Hussein's military and has...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: American warplanes destroyed a terrorist training camp today in Libya. The attack was aimed at a top leader in the Islamic State, and it also killed a number of other people whom the Pentagon says want to launch attacks on Europe or the United States. Here's how White House spokesman Josh Earnest described it. (SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE) JOSH EARNEST: I can confirm for you that early this morning, the United...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: American warplanes struck multiple targets in Libya overnight. They hit an Islamic State training camp, and U.S. officials say they may have killed an Islamic extremist leader. U.S. officials say as many as 60 people were killed at the training camp. NPR's Tom Bowman joins us now from the Pentagon. Good morning. TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee. MONTAGNE: What are U.S. officials saying happened...

Some 700 American troops on a long-running deployment could be in danger of an attack by extremists affiliated with the Islamic State, the Pentagon worries, but it may not be able to get them out anytime soon. U.S. military commanders fear the soldiers deployed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, and charged with keeping the peace between Egypt and Israel, are becoming an irresistible target for Islamist fighters concentrating nearby. The Wilayat Sinai group has pledged allegiance to ISIS, attacked...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: The new year brought a major milestone for the military services. All front-line combat jobs in the infantry, special operations units and elsewhere are now open to women. But just because that policy has changed does not mean the makeup of those units is going to change quickly. NPR's Tom Bowman joined us to talk about when the promise of admitting women to combat might actually be fulfilled. Good...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Defense Secretary Ash Carter today announced a historic decision. All ground combat jobs will be opened to women beginning early next year. In making his decision, Secretary Carter brushed aside a recommendation from a top military officer, Marine general Joseph Dunford. He wanted Marine infantry jobs closed to women. NPR's Tom Bowman has more. TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Secretary Carter said it made no sense...

The Pentagon says it will increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq by 100, in an effort to create a special operations targeting force that will seek out and kill ISIS leaders, rescue hostages and gather intelligence. And for the first time, officials have acknowledged that some of these troops will engage in raids that amount to combat operations. The U.S. already has some 3,500 troops in Iraq, mostly working as advisers and trainers for the country's security forces. This new force will...

A Russian warplane shot down over the Turkish border on Tuesday crashed in an area of Syria that advocates want to protect with a no-fly zone, or even a "safe zone" — fenced off from attacks by the Syrian regime or extremist groups like the Islamic State. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, Republican candidates Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, and other voices including Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., all support a no-fly zone or safe zone in Syria. The theory is that a buffer zone...

President Barack Obama could be close to nominating the first-ever woman to become the head of a military combatant command, Pentagon sources tell NPR. The U.S. military divides the world into areas of responsibility run by four-star generals and admirals, but none has ever been female. Obama wants to change that before the end of his term, Pentagon sources say, by naming a woman to take command of U.S. Northern Command. The current commander of NorthCom is also the commander of the well...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: It is known that at least eight attackers were involved, seven are dead. There's been a massive manhunt for the eighth and this attack has also been traced back to two individuals inside Islamic State territory in Syria, according to U.S. officials talking to our counterterrorism correspondent, Dina Temple-Raston. Now, France has struck back at that territory, French warplanes hit the capital of the Islamic State...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: There are new developments today concerning a weekend attack in Kunduz, Afghanistan by U.S. forces. An American commander says the strike was targeting Taliban forces near Kunduz. Instead, an American aircraft hit a hospital, killing 22 people, including three children. NPR's Tom Bowman joins us with the latest. And hi, Tom. TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Hey, Kelly. MCEVERS: And the top American commander in...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: Russia joined the combat in Syria without coordinating its approach with the United States. Now planes from both nations are bombing targets in Syria. STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: And it's characteristic of a tangled war that they are neither directly opposed nor on the same side. They share a reliance on air power, but not a common goal. MONTAGNE: The U.S. has been striking ISIS. NPR's Tom Bowman reports the...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Tomorrow is a deadline for the Pentagon. Heads of the Armed Forces have to make recommendations to their civilian leaders. Should some ground combat jobs remain closed to women? The Marine Corps has reached a decision, and their indication's that it's to bar women from some of its ground combat jobs. Today at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Ash Carter was asked about that, and he dodged the question. ...

Hundreds of Vietnam combat helicopter pilots, their families and Gold Star families planted a tree in Arlington National Cemetery on Friday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. combat troops entering the Vietnam War. The group called it the largest gathering of pilots, with 1,000 expected, says Bob Hesselbein, president of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot Association, which is holding a five-day meeting in Washington that ends on Saturday. Hesselbein says he met with the family...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: The first woman to make it through the Army's tough and rigorous Ranger training include a 26-year-old military police platoon leader from Connecticut. She deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. The other is a 25-year-old Apache attack helicopter pilot from Texas. On Friday, they'll graduate at Fort Benning, Ga. NPR's Tom Bowman has their stories. TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Captain Kristen Griest deployed to...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages