Rachel Martin

Rachel Martin is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday.

Prior to moving into the host position in the fall of 2012, Martin started as National Security Correspondent for NPR in May 2010. In that position she covered both defense and intelligence issues. She traveled regularly to Iraq and Afghanistan with the Secretary of Defense, reporting on the US wars and the effectiveness of the Pentagon's counterinsurgency strategy. Martin also reported extensively on the changing demographic of the US military – from the debate over whether to allow women to fight in combat units – to the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Her reporting on how the military is changing also took her to a US Air Force base in New Mexico where the military for a rare look at how the military trains drone pilots.

Martin was part of the team that launched NPR's experimental morning news show, The Bryant Park Project, based in New York — a two-hour daily multimedia program that she co-hosted with Alison Stewart and Mike Pesca.

In 2006-2007, Martin served as NPR's religion correspondent. Her piece on Islam in America was awarded "Best Radio Feature" by the Religion News Writers Association in 2007. As one of NPR's reporters assigned to cover the Virginia Tech massacre that same year, she was on the school's campus within hours of the shooting and on the ground in Blacksburg, Va., covering the investigation and emotional aftermath in the following days.

Based in Berlin, Germany, Martin worked as a NPR foreign correspondent from 2005-2006. During her time in Europe, she covered the London terrorist attacks, the federal elections in Germany, the 2006 World Cup and issues surrounding immigration and shifting cultural identities in Europe.

Her foreign reporting experience extends beyond Europe. Martin has also worked extensively in Afghanistan. She began reporting from there as a freelancer during the summer of 2003, covering the reconstruction effort in the wake of the U.S. invasion. In fall 2004, Martin returned for several months to cover Afghanistan's first democratic presidential election. She has reported widely on women's issues in Afghanistan, the fledgling political and governance system and the US-NATO fight against the insurgency. She has also reported from Iraq, where she covered U.S. military operations and the strategic alliance between Sunni sheiks and the U.S. military in Anbar province.

Martin started her career at public radio station KQED in San Francisco, as a producer and reporter.

She holds an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, and a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University.

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The Impact of War
6:07 am
Sun March 25, 2012

Home Front: 'Citizen Soldiers' Start A Transition

Members of the 182nd Infantry Regiment arrive in Indiana after spending a year in Afghanistan. They will spend about a week here before returning to their homes in New England.
Tom Dreisbach NPR

Originally published on Sun April 1, 2012 10:39 am

A few days ago, a plane carrying members of the 182nd Infantry Regiment touched down in Indiana. The 303 soldiers who were on board are members of an Army National Guard unit that has just finished a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.

The soldiers, dressed in their combat uniforms and carrying their weapons, bounded down the stairs from the plane. They shook the hands of the generals who had gathered there to welcome them home. It was the middle of the night and raining, but none of them seemed to mind. It had been a long trip and a long year.

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Politics
8:00 am
Sun March 18, 2012

Candidates' (Vocal) Pitch Plays Into Appeal

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:57 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

So what does it take to win an election: A clear message, a strong organization, good hair? How about deep pipes?

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: It's my view that the administration's policies are actually designed on purpose to bring about higher gas prices.

MARTIN: That's Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell who has won a few elections in his day.

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National Security
6:29 am
Sun January 22, 2012

CIA Tracks Public Information For The Private Eye

A student paints the Facebook logo on a mural commemorating Egypt's revolution last spring. The team from the CIA's Open Source Center monitors social media activity overseas.
Manoocher Deghati AP

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 9:24 am

Secrets: the currency of spies around the world.

The rise of social media, hash-tags, forums, blogs and online news sites has revealed a new kind of secret — those hiding in plain sight. The CIA calls all this information "open source" material, and it's changing the way America's top spy agency does business.

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Asia
3:05 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Pentagon: U.S., Pakistan Share Blame In Shooting

Pentagon spokesman George Little, speaking Thursday, said U.S. and Pakistani forces both made mistakes that contributed to the Nov. 26 shooting that killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers along the border with Afghanistan.
Luis M. Alvarez AP

Originally published on Thu December 22, 2011 7:36 pm

The U.S. military said Thursday that U.S. and Pakistani forces both made mistakes in a U.S. helicopter attack that killed two dozen Pakistani troops in November along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The Pentagon released the findings of its investigation that said a lack of trust, miscommunication and faulty map information all contributed to the shooting.

"For the loss of life and lack of coordination between U.S. and Pakistani forces that contributed to those losses, we express our deepest regret," said Pentagon spokesman George Little.

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The Impact of War
6:01 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

Report: High Levels Of 'Burnout' In U.S. Drone Pilots

Around 1,100 Air Force pilots fly remotely piloted aircraft – or drones. These planes soar over Iraq or Afghanistan but the pilots sit at military bases back in the United States.

A new Pentagon study shows that almost 30 percent of drone pilots surveyed suffer from what the military calls "burnout." It's the first time the military has tried to measure the psychological impact of waging a "remote-controlled war."

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Leaving Iraq
9:00 pm
Sat December 17, 2011

Improvised Warfare In Iraq Leaves Lasting Effects

U.S. and Iraqi soldiers display "sticky IEDs" — magnetic bombs that militants attach to vehicles — found during a raid at a checkpoint near the Iraq-Iran border.
Peter Kenyon NPR

Army Sgt. Maj. Todd Burnett spent about three years in Iraq hunting for improvised explosive devices, also knows as IEDs.

"I can remember going out and one week I got blown up three times," Burnett says. He says back then, it wasn't whether you were going to get blown up, it was just a matter of when you were going to get blown up.

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National Security
12:01 am
Tue November 29, 2011

Drone Pilots: The Future Of Aerial Warfare

Unmanned aerial vehicles, like this Predator (shown here in 2009 during training at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev.), make up the fastest growing segment of the U.S. Air Force.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 12:16 pm

To understand how important remotely piloted aircraft are to the U.S. military, consider this: The U.S. Air Force says this year it will train more drone pilots than fighter and bomber pilots combined.

And that's changing the nature of aerial warfare — and the pilots who wage it.

Steve, a lieutenant colonel, grew up wanting to be in the Air Force. And that meant one thing: wanting to be a pilot.

To him, flying is physical: the pull of gravity, the sounds inside the cockpit.

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Politics
5:00 am
Sat November 19, 2011

With Defense Budget Cuts Come Challenging Costs

The congressional supercommittee has only a few days left to come up with a plan to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit. One of the areas on the chopping block is the nation's defense budget, and Pentagon officials are pushing back against any cuts beyond the $450 billion they've already been asked to make.

The defense budget is an easy target when it comes to cutting the deficit, because it makes up half of the federal government's entire discretionary budget, says Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

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