Michael Quinlan "was born in 1930. After National Service in the Royal Air Force he entered the United Kingdom Home Civil Service in 1954.
"Most of his career was spent in the defence field, especially in policy posts. He was Private Secretary to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Air 1956-58, and to the Chief of Air Staff 1962-65. From 1968 to 1970 he was concerned in particular with arms control, and from 1970 to 1973 he was Defence Counsellor in the United Kingdom Delegation to NATO (heading also the secretariat of the Eurogroup).
"From 1974 to 1977 he served in the Cabinet Office. In 1977 he became Policy Director in the Ministry of Defence, closely involved with nuclear-force modernisation both nationally and in NATO. After service in the Treasury 1981-82 as Deputy Secretary (Industry) he became Permanent Secretary at the Department of Employment 1983-88. He then returned to the Ministry of Defence as Permanent Under-Secretary of State until retirement in 1992.
"From 1992 to 1999 he was Director of the Ditchley Foundation, which runs a wide-ranging programme of international conferences. He was for several years on the boards of Lloyds TSB Bank plc and Pilkington Group plc. He was a Trustee of the National Museum of Science and Industry from 1992 to 2001. He is is a Visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London, and Chairman of The Tablet Trust.
"He has written extensively on defence and international-security matters, especially nuclear-weapon policy and doctrine (on which he published “Thinking About Nuclear Weapons” in 1997).
"He spent the autumn of 2000 in Washington DC at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. His special topic there was European Defence Cooperation; the Center published in 2001 his resulting book under that title. He also taught “Just War” concepts at Georgetown University.
"He has been a special adviser to Parliamentary committees on international-security issues. He is an Honorary Ancien of the NATO Defense College." 
- Director, American Ditchley Foundation
- Academic Visitor 2006-07, Centre for International Studies at Oxford University