John Tirman is the Director of the Program on Global Security & Cooperation at the Social Science Research Council, New York, which has, since 1923, been a leading generator of innovative, cross-disciplinary research on issues of public concern. Tirman holds a doctorate in political theory from Boston University, where he was a Teaching Fellow, and also worked at TIME magazine in New York and the Union of Concerned Scientists in Cambridge. He currently serves as a trustee of International Alert (London). From 1986 to 1999, he was Executive Director of the Winston Foundation for World Peace, one of the nation's major philanthropies supporting disarmament and conflict prevention. He also advised or managed other philanthropies. These experiences are recalled in his critical memoir, Making the Money Sing: Private Wealth Et Public Power in the Search for Peace (Rowman & Littlefield). In 1999–2000, Tirman was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Cyprus, organizing a "common narrative" project, one result of which is the Web site, www.cyprus-conflict.net.
Tirman is the author, co-author, or editor of six books on international security, including the first and most decisive critique of ballistic missile defense, The Fallacy of Star Wars (Vintage, 1984), and Spoils of War: The Human Cost of America's Arms Trade (Free Press, 1997), which the Washington Post said was written "with dispassionate resolve and clarity," and Newsweek called "singularly illuminating."