Tom Bowman

Speech Topics

The US has been fighting in Afghanistan for sixteen years. It’s the longest American war with no sign of stopping. A look at the war from the grunt level, what’s working what’s not working. NPR’s Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman has been embedding with US and Afghan troops for a decade and provides vivid detail about what it’s like to work and report from a combat zone. President Trump is gearing up to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan. Will it work or will this just be the endless war?

A look at the ongoing fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria with NPR’s Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman, who has reported from Iraq. What is the strategy for defeating the Islamic State. And what will happen after the fighting stops. Will the US have a permanent presence in both countries, and what are the prospects for peace?

Women have just entered the ranks of the ground combat forces. NPR’s Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman talks about the way ahead for women in combat. He spent weeks with a Marine training unit that tested women’s readiness for combat. They carried hundred pound packs, scaled walls and walked for miles, before dropping down and shooting targets. Now that women are entering active-duty units, how are they doing?

NPR’s Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman talks about the casualties of war. Tom spent weeks talking with wounded Marines about their experiences in Afghanistan. They were part of a Marine unit called “Darkhorse” a group that had the highest casualty rate in the entire Afghan war. Twenty five dead and twenty two double amputees were among the casualties. What happened to the survivors and how are they — and their family members — coping now, some seven years after that bloody deployment?

Donald Trump has given the military a lot of leeway to conduct operations around the globe, but some worry that the military is taking over not just fighting — but foreign policy as well. A look at the expansion of military operations under the Trump Administration.


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 TheBaltimore 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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