THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
BIOGRAPHY OF BOBBY RAY INMAN
During a 31-year military career that included some of the most sensitive national security posts in government, Bobby Ray Inman earned a bipartisan reputation as one of the nation's finest intelligence officers. News accounts have referred to him as "simply one of the smartest people ever to come out of Washington or anywhere," (Omni, 11-84) and "a superstar in the intelligence community [and] a tough-minded administrator" (Newsweek, 2-16-81).
Inman was born in 1931 in the small town of Rhonesboro, Texas. After graduating from high school at age 15 and the University of Texas at age 19, he joined the Naval Reserve in 1951 and was commissioned an ensign in 1952. He then spent 19 years as an analyst for Naval Intelligence, serving on an aircraft carrier, two cruisers and a destroyer, as well as in a variety of onshore assignments.
In 1972, Inman graduated from the Naval War College and became the executive assistant to the vice chief of naval operations. He then rose to Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the Pacific Fleet in 1973, Director of Naval Intelligence in 1974, and Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1976. He was named director of the National Security Agency in 1977, and served four years at the head of this major agency. As he rose through these posts, Inman won the Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy's highest non-combatant award, and the DIA's Defense Superior Service Medal for "achievements unparalleled in the history of intelligence."
In 1981, Inman was nominated by President Reagan to be the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. He was easily confirmed, and served in that position until resigning in March 1982. At that time, he became the first naval intelligence specialist ever to earn the rank of four-star Admiral. Senator David Boren said of Inman's time at the CIA that, "it was principally Admiral Inman who first showed that the congressional oversight process could work."
Since leaving the Navy, Inman has been involved in several business ventures, served on a variety of corporate boards, and acted as an outside advisor to three Presidents, the State Department, and Congress. Currently a resident of Austin, Texas, Inman is married to the former Carolyn Russo. They have two sons, Thomas and William.
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