In this paper, we address the problem of deploying sink nodes in a wireless sensor network such that the resulting network topology be robust. In order to measure network robustness, we propose a new metric, called persistence, which better captures the notion of robustness than the widely known connectivity based metrics. We study two variants of the sink deployment problem: sink selection and sink placement. We prove that both problems are NP-hard, and show how the problem of sink placement can be traced back to the problem of sink selection using an optimal search space reduction technique, which may be of independent interest. To solve the problem of sink selection, we propose efficient heuristic algorithms. Finally, we provide experimental results on the performance of our proposed algorithms.