Admiral Inman graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1950, and from the National War College in 1972. He became an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin in 1987. He was appointed as a tenured professor holding the Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy in August 2001. He served as Interim Dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs from 1 January to 31 December 2005 and again from January 2009 to March 2010.
Admiral Inman served in the U.S. Navy from November 1951 to July 1982, when he retired with the permanent rank of Admiral. While on active duty he served as Director of the National Security Agency and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. After retirement from the Navy, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) in Austin, Texas for four years and Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Westmark Systems, Inc., a privately owned electronics industry holding company for three years. 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, where he is a Managing Director of Gefinor Ventures and Limestone Ventures. He is a member of the Board of Directors of several privately held companies. He serves as a Trustee of the American Assembly and the California Institute of Technology. He is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.