Michael Quinlan (civil servant)
Sir Michael Edward Quinlan, GCB (11 August 1930 – 26 February 2009) was a distinguished former British defence strategist and former Permanent Under-Secretary of State (generally known as the Permanent Secretary) at the British Ministry of Defence, who wrote and lectured on defence and matters of international security, especially nuclear weapon policies and doctrine, and also on concepts of ‘Just War’ and related ethical issues.
Quinlan was born on 11 August 1930 in Hampton, Middlesex, England to Gerald and Roseanne Quinlan. He was educated at Wimbledon College, the Jesuit boys' high school. From 1948 to 1952 he attended Merton College, Oxford, graduating with a Double First in Classics. He completed his national service in the RAF between 1952 and 1954.
Civil Service career
In 1954, Quinlan joined the Air Ministry as a civil servant. He was Private Secretary to two Chiefs of the Air Staff: Sir Thomas Pike from 1962 to 1963, and Sir Charles Elworthy from 1963 to 1965. He was Deputy Secretary (policy and programmes) at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) from 1977 to 1981. He was Permanent Under-Secretary at the MOD from 1988 to 1992. These years saw the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Outside the Ministry of Defence he was Permanent Secretary, Department of Employment (1983–88); Deputy Secretary, HM Treasury (1981–82) and Under-Secretary, Cabinet Office (1974–77). He retired from the Civil Service in 1992.
On retirement, Quinlan became Director of the Ditchley Foundation, holding the position until 1999. In 2001, he became Chairman of the The Tablet Trust, publisher of the Catholic newspaper The Tablet.
He was one of the world's foremost experts in deterrence theory, contributing to debate and books in this field. He also wrote his own book on this matter shortly before his death. His contributions were recognised by Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in a speech given on 17 March 2009. Historian of government Peter Hennessy called him the leading in-house defence intellectual MOD has possessed since World War II.
He died on 26 February 2009.
- "Obituary - Sir Michael Quinlan". The Telegraph. 1 Mar 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- Mottram, Richard (2 March 2009). "Obituary - Sir Michael Quinlan". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900-1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 394.
- "Former Directors". Ditchley Foundation. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- "In full: Brown's nuclear speech". BBC News. 17 March 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
Sir Michael Quinlan, who sadly died last month, and for whose work we will always be grateful, argued thirty years ago - that nuclear weapons cannot be disinvented.
- Peter Hennessy (3 February 2011). "Cabinets and the Bomb". House of Lords outreach programme - 2011 annual lecture. UK Parliament. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- "No. 52382". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1990. p. 3.
- Charles Guthrie and Michael Quinlan (2007). Just War: The Just War Tradition: Ethics in Modern Warfare. Walker. ISBN 9780802717030.
- review: Richard Norton-Taylor (3 November 2007). "Immoral victories". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- Michael Quinlan (2009). Thinking About Nuclear Weapons: Principles, Problems, Prospects. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199563944.
- Michael Quinlan and Tanya Ogilvie-White (2011). On nuclear deterrence : the correspondence of Sir Michael Quinlan. Routledge. ISBN 9780415521659.
- Biography on the website of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
- Another biography at the website of the Oxford Leverhulme Programme on the ‘Changing Character of War’.
- Tam Dalyell (28 February 2009). "Sir Michael Quinlan: Civil servant and defence strategist who explored the concept of the Just War". The Independent. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
- "Sir Michael Quinlan". Daily Telegraph. 1 March 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
- Sue Cameron (13 March 2009). "British civil servant who led Europe to cut its nuclear arsenals". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 March 2009.
Sir Kenneth Barnes
|Permanent Secretary of the Department of Employment
1983 – 1988
Sir Geoffrey Holland
Sir Clive Whitmore
|Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence
1988 - 1992
Sir Christopher France