Mark Thompson, a defense reporter in Washington since 1979, is a national security correspondent for TIME Magazine. Key areas of his interest include the military's evolving role following the Cold War, its efforts to develop a template for the use of the American military in an increasingly Balkanized world, and the Pentagon's halting attempts to become more reflective of the society from which it is drawn. He has discussed military affairs on PBS's The News Hour with Jim Lehrer and other PBS, CNN and BBC programs. He has discussed military and journalistic matters at the Pentagon's war colleges and various institutions, including programs sponsored by Harvard and Georgetown universities.
Thompson came to TIME early in 1994 after covering the military for Knight-Ridder Newspapers (including the Detroit Free Press, the Miami Herald the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the San Jose Mercury-News) for eight years. During his tenure there, he reported extensively on the Persian Gulf War and the U.S. invasion of Panama. He also was first to report from the Navy's co-ed boot camp, and was the first to interview the first woman to skipper a Navy ship. His reporting also focused on defense procurement (exposing Senator Robert Byrd's $7 million homestate atomic clock and the Air Force's $421,000 fax machine) and deadly problems aboard the Air Force's B-1 bomber, the Navy's F-14 fighter, and the Army's UH-60 helicopter.
Prior to joining Knight-Ridder in 1986, Thompson covered defense in the Washington bureau of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for seven years. While at the Star-Telegram, he won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for his series of articles on a helicopter design flaw that went uncorrected for more than a decade, killing 250 U.S. servicemen.
Before coming to Washington, Thompson spent a year in Pontiac, Michigan, as the courthouse for the Oakland Press daily newspaper. He began his career as editor of the Rhode Island Pendulum , a weekly newspaper in his hometown of East Greenwich, Rhode Island, after graduating from Boston University's School of Public Communication in 1975.
Thompson resides in Kensington, Maryland, one subway stop outside the Beltway, with his wife, Diane, and their two sons, Jonathan and Geoffrey.