Admiral Inman, the first Naval Intelligence Specialist to attain four-star rank, joined the Navy in 1951 and went on to serve as Director of Naval Intelligence, Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Director of the National Security Agency, and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. From 1990 to 1993, he was also vice-chairman of the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
After retiring from the Navy in 1982 with the permanent rank of admiral, Admiral Inman was chairman and chief executive officer of the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) in Austin, Texas, for four years. For three years, he was chairman, president and chief executive officer of Westmark Systems, Inc., a privately-owned electronics industry holding company. Admiral Inman also served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, from 1987 through 1990.
Admiral Inman's primary activity since 1990 has been investing in start-up technology companies. He is a managing partner of Gefinor Ventures and a member of the board of directors at Massey Energy Company and several privately held companies. He serves as a trustee of the American Assembly and the California Institute of Technology, and is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.
A 1950 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and a 1972 graduate of the National War College, Admiral Inman became an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin in 1987. In 2001, he was appointed as a tenured professor at the University of Texas holding the Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy and in 2005, he served as Interim Dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.