David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.
Having previously covered Congress over a 13-year period starting in 2001, Welna reported extensively on matters related to national security. He covered the debates on Capitol Hill over authorizing the use of military force prior to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the expansion of government surveillance practices arising from Congress' approval of the USA PATRIOT Act. Welna reported on congressional probes into the use of torture by U.S. officials interrogating terrorism suspects. He also traveled with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Afghanistan on the Pentagon chief's first overseas trip in that post.
As a national security correspondent, Welna has continued covering the overseas travel of Pentagon chiefs who've succeeded Hagel. He has also made regular trips to the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to provide ongoing coverage of the detention there of alleged "foreign enemy combatants" and the slow-moving prosecution of some of them in an episodically-convened war court. In Washington, he continues to cover national security-related issues being considered by Congress.
In mid-1998, after 16 years of reporting from abroad for NPR, Welna joined NPR's Chicago bureau. During that posting, he reported on a wide range of issues: changes in Midwestern agriculture that threaten the survival of small farms, the personal impact of foreign conflicts and economic crises in the heartland, and efforts to improve public education. His background in Latin America informed his coverage of the saga of Elian Gonzalez both in Miami and in Cuba.
Welna first filed stories for NPR as a freelancer in 1982, based in Buenos Aires. From there, and subsequently from Rio de Janeiro, he covered events throughout South America. In 1995, Welna became the chief of NPR's Mexico bureau.
Additionally, he has reported for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Financial Times, and The Times of London . Welna's photography has appeared in Esquire, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Covering a wide range of stories in Latin America, Welna chronicled the wrenching 1985 trial of Argentina's former military leaders who presided over the disappearance of tens of thousands of suspected dissidents. In Brazil, he visited a town in Sao Paulo state called Americana where former slaveholders from America relocated after the Civil War. Welna covered the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, the mass exodus of Cubans who fled the island on rafts in 1994, the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, and the U.S. intervention in Haiti to restore Jean Bertrand Aristide to Haiti's presidency.
Welna was honored with the 2011 Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress, given by the National Press Foundation. In 1995, he was awarded an Overseas Press Club award for his coverage of Haiti. During that same year he was chosen by the Latin American Studies Association to receive their annual award for distinguished coverage of Latin America. Welna was awarded a 1997 Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. In 2002, Welna was elected by his colleagues to a two-year term as a member of the Executive Committee of the Congressional Radio-Television Correspondents' Galleries.
A native of Minnesota, Welna graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, with a Bachelor of Arts degree and distinction in Latin American Studies. He was subsequently a Thomas J. Watson Foundation fellow. He speaks fluent Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
Three of the U.S. Navy's 11 aircraft carriers are reported to have sailors infected with the coronavirus. The Pentagon says readiness has not been affected, but more outbreaks are expected.
First it was his sacking of Capt. Brett Crozier last week; then it was a diatribe he delivered aboard the USS Roosevelt on Monday morning. Now acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is out.
During an unannounced visit to the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Sunday, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly tried justifying to its catcalling crew members his sacking of their skipper.
A highly critical letter from Capt. Brett Crozier that was leaked to the media cost him his command of the coronavirus-infected USS Roosevelt. Now the man who fired him says he's not being discharged.
Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of his command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier after a highly critical letter he wrote to his superiors went public.
The request from FEMA to the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency for cadaver pouches follows warnings at the White House of coronavirus death tolls surpassing 100,000.
With more than 100 sailors reportedly infected, the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier says the shipboard outbreak will keep spreading unless his 4,000+ crew is quarantined.
The U.S. Marine Corps won't be shipping new recruits this week to one of its two U.S. training centers. Last week four people at the Parris Island, S.C. installation tested positive for COVID-19.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt is the first U.S. warship with known cases of COVID-19. It's now heading to Guam to get all 5,000 crew members tested.
Only men are currently obliged to register with the Selective Service System for possible military conscription. Now a blue ribbon panel says that obligation should extend to women.