Sean D. Carberry is a cross between Gibbs, DiNozzo, MacGyver, and House (with dashes of Anthony Bourdain and Hunter Thompson), except not quite as smart, funny, or good looking.
He’s had the life path of a Roomba—he has been a multifamily mortgage banker, recording engineer, teacher, political consultant, bureaucrat, and award-winning war correspondent.
Currently, he is managing editor of National Defense Magazine and in his spare time he’s the Roy Kent of foreign policy analysis and commentary on Substack.
From 2007 through 2014, Sean traveled the world reporting from war zones and fragile states for public radio. He spent time in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Congo, Colombia, Kosovo, and Sudan and other rough neighborhoods before settling down in Afghanistan in 2012. There, he served as NPR’s Kabul correspondent until the end of 2014 when NPR closed the bureau.
His quest to become a correspondent in Afghanistan began in the months after 9/11 when he was a producer for “The Connection” at WBUR in Boston. In that role, he would spend mornings calling satellite phones in Afghanistan to get on-the-ground correspondents on the show. The pictures those reporters painted captivated him. He knew he had to see it all himself.
The path to get there would be long and unconventional. He detoured from journalism into a brief stint as a political campaign manager and then went to the Harvard Kennedy School to earn a master’s degree in public administration.
After a summer writing papers on governance and political reform in the Middle East at the Dubai School of Government, he returned to Boston and WBUR as a Swiss Army Knife. He produced coverage of the 2006 elections, a documentary report on public higher education in Massachusetts, and produced and reported as part of the tiger team that developed the program “Radio Boston.”
In the summer of 2007, after life dealt him a series of body blows, he moved to Washington D.C. and joined the international affairs radio program, “America Abroad.” After four years of traveling the world and winning awards for that program, he beamed to the mothership as international producer for NPR, and a year later took over the Kabul bureau.
After his time in Afghanistan ended, Sean worked for Reuters as an online video news producer and then for Federal Computer Week as defense reporter.
Next stop, the Defense Department Office of Inspector General, where he served as managing editor of the Lead Inspector General reports to Congress on overseas contingency operations. He managed a portfolio of public and classified interagency oversight reports on wars and counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the Philippines, and in Africa.
During the first year of COVID, Sean hit the interagency wall and joined the Great Resignation. It was an act of self-preservation during a time of deteriorating mental health brought on by the years of covering human cruelty and suffering.
He packed up his cat Squeak he rescued from Afghanistan, and they set up shop on Cape Cod where they—OK, mostly Sean—wrote Passport Stamps.
Sean is an avid scuba diver who has explore the reefs of the Maldives to the wrecks of Truk Lagoon. He’s also a passionate supporter of the Movember Foundation and its mission to support men’s health through prostate cancer awareness and research programs and mental health initiatives.
Sean is quite likely the only person to have won a Peabody Award, the Defense Department Superior Civilian Service Medal, and a Gold Record.