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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National Security
5:00 am
Wed August 3, 2011

Pentagon Could See Deep Cuts In Debt Deal

For several GOP lawmakers, the decision on whether to vote for the debt deal hinged on how the prescribed cuts will affect defense spending. In the end, enough Republicans in the House put their concerns about cutting the deficit over their concerns about cutting defense spending.

But no one really knows how much the Pentagon will have to cut as a result of the deal or when.

"We are in uncharted territory here," said David Berteau, an expert on budgetary issues with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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Conflict In Libya
10:53 am
Tue July 26, 2011

U.S. Looks For Ways To Break Libya Stalemate

Libyan rebel fighters run for cover at the front line near the southwest desert town of Gualish on July 24, as Gadhafi forces started attacking them in an attempt to capture the city.
Colin Summers AFP/Getty Images

It's been more than four months since NATO launched an attack on Moammar Gadhafi's forces in Libya. Since then, opposition forces have gained ground with help from NATO airstrikes, but Gadhafi's military is holding firm so far.

President Obama and other leaders have called on Gadhafi to leave, but he's clearly not listening. Now, the conflict in Libya has turned into a complicated waiting game.

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Afghanistan
5:10 pm
Mon July 18, 2011

As Leadership Changes, So Could Afghanistan Strategy

Afghan National Army soldier Mohammed Shadwar gets a bird's-eye view from the rooftop of a mud-walled compound during a joint clearing operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan. As the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan changes, there's a question of whether U.S. policy will shift from one that supports building up Afghan national security forces to one focused on targeting insurgents.
David Gilkey NPR

Gen. David Petraeus stepped down as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday and handed control of the war over to Marine Corps Gen. John Allen. Petraeus is leaving to become head of the CIA at the end of the summer.

A year ago, President Obama asked Petraeus to take charge in Afghanistan and jump start the counterinsurgency operation there. Now, there's a question of whether Monday's change in command also signals a change in strategy.

The Counterinsurgency Strategy

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Weekend Edition

Whether revealing events in small-town America or overseas, or profiling notable personalities, Weekend Edition from NPR News appreciates the extraordinary details that make up every story. This two-hour morning newsmagazine covers hard news, a wide variety of newsmakers, and cultural stories with care, accuracy, and a wink of humor.

Iraq
3:00 pm
Mon July 11, 2011

In Iraq, Panetta Has Tough Words On Troop Deadline

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (left) sits with Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, as they fly in a Black Hawk helicopter over Baghdad on Monday.
Paul J. Richards AP

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has been on the job for all of 11 days and he's already frustrated with Iraq.

"I'd like things to move a lot faster here, frankly, in terms of the decision-making process. I'd like them to make a decision, you know: Do they want us to stay? Don't they want us to stay? ... But damn it, make a decision," he said during a visit to Baghdad on Monday following a brief trip to Afghanistan. It's Panetta's first trip to the warzones since assuming his new job last week.

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