My early flying career as a navigator was spent in air defence duties on the Phantom F4 and I later commanded 101 Squadron flying VC10K tankers. Staff appointments included 3 years in the Cabinet Office, Strategic Plans in MoD and as Director of Defence Studies for the RAF. In this last appointment I taught on the Higher Command and Staff Course (HCSC). My final job was as Director of the Defence Leadership and Management Centre within the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.
My first degree was a BSc in Maths and Physics from the University of Dundee; I later gained an LLB from London. I then completed an MPhil in International Relations at the University of Cambridge. I completed my PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2010. I am a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and of the Institute of Leadership and Management.