Larry Abramson

Larry Abramson is NPR's National Security Correspondent. He covers the Pentagon, as well as issues relating to the thousands of vets returning home from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Prior to his current role, Abramson was NPR's Education Correspondent covering a wide variety of issues related to education, from federal policy to testing to instructional techniques in the classroom. His reporting focused on the impact of for-profit colleges and universities, and on the role of technology in the classroom. He made a number of trips to New Orleans to chart the progress of school reform there since Hurricane Katrina. Abramson also covers a variety of news stories beyond the education beat.

In 2006, Abramson returned to the education beat after spending nine years covering national security and technology issues for NPR. Since 9/11, Abramson has covered telecommunications regulation, computer privacy, legal issues in cyberspace, and legal issues related to the war on terrorism.

During the late 1990s, Abramson was involved in several special projects related to education. He followed the efforts of a school in Fairfax County, Virginia, to include severely disabled students in regular classroom settings. He joined the National Desk reporting staff in 1997.

For seven years prior to his position as a reporter on the National Desk, Abramson was senior editor for NPR's National Desk. His department was responsible for approximately 25 staff reporters across the United States, five editors in Washington, and news bureaus in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. The National Desk also coordinated domestic news coverage with news departments at many of NPR's member stations. The desk doubled in size during Abramson's tenure. He oversaw the development of specialized beats in general business, high-technology, workplace issues, small business, education, and criminal justice.

Abramson joined NPR in 1985 as a production assistant with Morning Edition. He moved to the National Desk, where he served for two years as Western editor. From there, he became the deputy science editor with NPR's Science Unit, where he helped win a duPont-Columbia Award as editor of a special series on Black Americans and AIDS.

Prior to his work at NPR, Abramson was a freelance reporter in San Francisco and worked with Voice of America in California and in Washington, D.C.

He has a master's degree in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Abramson also studied overseas at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and at the Free University in Berlin, Germany.

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Middle East
5:12 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Women In Prayer Shawls Detained At Judaism's Holiest Site

Rabbi Susan Silverman (center, left), the sister of American comedian Sarah Silverman, along with her teenage daughter Hallel Abramowitz (center, right), are arrested by Israeli police as they leave the Western Wall in Jerusalem, on Monday.
Jim Hollander EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 9:40 am

Police in Jerusalem on Monday detained 10 women for wearing the tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl traditionally worn by men, while praying at the Western Wall.

The Women of the Wall have been fighting for years for permission to worship in the manner that men do at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism for prayer. The stone structure is part of the retaining wall that surrounded the Second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

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The Two-Way
5:31 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

How Do Israeli And Palestinian Textbooks Treat The Other Side?

Palestinian students attend a class in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday.
Majdi Mohammed AP

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 8:48 am

There was some good news and bad news in a three-year study that tried to take an objective look at bias in Israeli and Palestinian textbooks directed against "the other."

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Business
5:38 am
Mon February 4, 2013

SodaStream Criticized For West Bank Plant

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 8:48 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And let's think about the Super Bowl once again. Last night was big for the Ravens and for an Israeli company called SodaStream. It ran its first Super Bowl ad.

The original spot it hoped to air was rejected. And as NPR's Larry Abramson reports, there are much bigger controversies facing that company.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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World
2:41 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Israeli Election Rekindles Debate Over Military Service

Ultra-Orthodox Jews are not required to perform military service in Israel, and the issue is subject to intense debate following the country's election last week. Here, ultra-Orthodox men sign up for alternate civilian service earlier this month.
Baz Ratner Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 12:51 pm

The rise of a new Israeli political party after last week's elections has set the stage for renewed conflict over the country's military draft.

That new party, Yesh Atid, or "There is a Future," campaigned on a promise to draft thousands of ultra-Orthodox students who are currently exempt from military service.

And with the number of ultra-Orthodox students in Israel on the rise given the community's high birth rates, this longstanding debate has become a critical post-election issue.

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Middle East
5:12 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

An Israeli Political Newcomer, Who May Soon Be An Insider

Yair Lapid and his new political party, There Is a Future, got the second-most votes in Israel's election on Tuesday.
Oliver Weiken EPA /Landov

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 9:17 am

Israel's surprisingly close parliamentary elections Tuesday have brought political attention to a man accustomed to the bright lights of television: former journalist and media personality Yair Lapid.

His Yesh Atid — or There Is a Future — Party got 19 seats in parliament, making it the second-largest voting bloc behind Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, which won 31 seats.

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Middle East
5:14 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Netanyahu Must Turn Fractured Results Into A Government

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 9:17 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. In Israel last night a surprisingly close election. Voters appear to have reelected Prime Minister Netanyahu for another term. That was expected. But Netanyahu's right wing alliance suffered serious losses. Centrist and left wing parties defied opinion polls and won half the seats in parliament. As NPR's Larry Abramson reports from Jerusalem, the prime minister will now have to turn these fractured results into a government.

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Middle East
5:01 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Exit Polls Project Netanyahu Will Lead Israel For Another Term

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 9:16 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Today was election day in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been re-elected to lead the Israeli parliament, but his right-wing alliance lost at least 10 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. The Likud-Beitenu bloc gave up ground both to the far right and to the center left. And that means Netanyahu could have a tough time building a stable coalition government.

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Middle East
6:36 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Israeli Political Ads Try To Weaken Netanyahu

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 9:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Israel this week, the election campaign for a new parliament kicks into high gear. Last night the first television ads aired. Networks are required to leave long stretches of space for the ads. With the vote just two weeks off, opposition parties are hoping their TV spots will at last weaken the frontrunner, the prime minister's Likud Party.

NPR's Larry Abramson reports from Jerusalem.

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Presidential Race
5:12 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

How Big Should The U.S. Navy Be?

Navy mine countermeasure ships line up in August to conduct a replenishment-at-sea during Middle East Gulf naval exercises in this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, 5th Fleet.
Toni Burton AP

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 6:25 pm

In many of his campaign speeches, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney likes to chide the Obama administration for cutting military spending. And Romney says one force in particular is suffering from a lack of resources.

"The size of our Navy is at levels not seen since 1916," he says in many of his stump speeches. Romney promises to rebuild the Navy until it reaches 350 ships. But does a bigger Navy make the U.S. more secure?

Echoes Of Reagan

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Solve This
4:16 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Romney's Defense Plans Call For Higher Spending

U.S. Marines drive amphibious armored personnel carriers in the Philippines on Oct. 9, as part of the annual joint exercises with Philippine counterparts.
Jay Directo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 8:00 pm

One area where President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney clearly disagree is defense spending. The president wants less, Romney wants more. But the difference in their approaches is about more than money.

When Romney looks at the future, he sees a series of threats: from unrest in the Middle East to a nuclear North Korea to what he sees as a defiant Russia.

Speaking to veterans in Virginia's Fairfax County last month, Romney blamed the Obama administration for cuts that will go into effect unless Congress and the president act.

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NPR Story
4:23 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Pentagon Revising Cyber Rules Of Engagement

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 5:36 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with rules of engagement.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Last night, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta issued these words of warning: foreign cyber actors - he said - are probing America's critical infrastructure networks.

As NPR's Larry Abramson reports, Panetta says the Pentagon is revising its cyber rules of engagement, so it can respond to those attacks.

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It's All Politics
4:37 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Romney, Obama Surrogates Clash Over Military Strategy

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 5:16 pm

The Romney campaign is putting more meat on the bones of its defense policy, and the result is a muscular, almost hawkish posture.

Dov Zakheim, Mitt Romney's special adviser for foreign policy and national security, went toe-to-toe with Richard Verma, who plays a similar role for the Obama campaign, at a forum Wednesday.

The two tussled for over an hour in a foreign policy debate of sorts at a Washington, D.C., hotel.

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Politics
5:02 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Defense Companies Hold Off On Pink Slips, For Now

Air Force F-22 Raptors, made by Lockheed Martin, are prepared for flight operations at Langley Air Force Base. Despite the looming defense spending cuts that would go into effect in January if Congress does not pass a deficit reduction plan, Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors announced this week they would not issue layoff notices.
Gary C. Knapp AP

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 6:44 pm

Major defense companies said this week they will not send out layoff notices to warn of big job cuts in January, taking away the prospect of embarrassing layoff notices right before the November elections.

That's led to charges that the White House overstepped when it told the industry the notices are not needed.

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Politics
4:46 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Military Troops Request Fewer Absentee Ballots

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 10:19 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.

Compared with 2008, far fewer American troops are asking for absentee ballots this fall. A new report blames the Pentagon for failing to provide enough help. The Department of Defense says the figures do not reflect the efforts it's making. NPR's Larry Abramson reports.

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National Security
3:37 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Army Seeks To Curb Rising Tide Of Suicides

U.S. troops from the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment patrol at dawn in Kandalay, Afghanistan on Aug. 4, 2011. A worldwide stand down for troops to take part in suicide prevention training Thursday is part of the Army's response to an alarming suicide rate of nearly one per day.
Romeo Gacad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 9:04 pm

At Fort Myer, Va., a small Army base across the river from Washington, D.C., Chaplain Mark Worrell is talking to about 100 soldiers, reciting the grim numbers.

"This year, 2012, there have been more suicides in the Army than combat deaths," he says.

Worrell paces in front of the stage in a small auditorium and talks with the soldiers for more than an hour about the warning signs of suicide. He asks them what they would do if a friend starting selling his tools and lost interest in his favorite hobbies.

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National Security
5:40 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Automatic Budget Cuts Still Loom Over Defense Dept.

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 6:05 pm

Republicans continue to press the Obama administration for more details on how they would cut billions from the defense budget if sequestration is put into place in January. The Department of Defense will now have to explain why it has not planned for an event that is becoming increasingly likely.

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