Peter D. Feaver

Peter D. Feaver

Professor of Political Science

External Address: 
287 Gross Hall, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708-0204
(919) 660-4331
International Relations, Security, Peace, Conflict

Peter D. Feaver (Ph.D., Harvard, 1990) is a Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University.  He is Director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies and Director of the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy. Feaver is author of Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations (Harvard Press, 2003)and of Guarding the Guardians: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States (Cornell University Press, 1992). He is co-author: with Christopher Gelpi and Jason Reifler, of Paying the Human Costs of War (Princeton Press, 2009); with Susan Wasiolek and Anne Crossman, of Getting the Best Out of College (Ten Speed Press, 2008, 2nd edition 2012); and with Christopher Gelpi, of Choosing Your Battles: American Civil-Military Relations and the Use of Force (Princeton Press, 2004).He is co-editor, with Richard H. Kohn, of Soldiers and Civilians: The Civil-Military Gap and American National Security (MIT Press, 2001).  He has published numerous other monographs, scholarly articles, book chapters, and policy pieces on grand strategy, American foreign policy, public opinion, nuclear proliferation, civil-military relations, and cybersecurity.
From June 2005 to July 2007, Feaver served as Special Advisor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Reform on the National Security Council Staff at the White House where his responsibilities included the national security strategy, regional strategy reviews, and other political-military issues. In 1993-94, Feaver served as Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control on the National Security Council at the White House where his responsibilities included the national security strategy review, counterproliferation policy, regional nuclear arms control, and other defense policy issues.  He is an emeritus member of the Aspen Strategy Group, blogs at “Elephants in the Room” at, and is a Contributing Editor to Foreign Policy magazine.  


  • Ph.D., Harvard University 1990
  • B.A., Lehigh University 1983

Feaver, P. D. Assuring Control of Nuclear Weapons: The Evolution of Permissive Action Links. Edited by Peter Feaver and Peter Stein, Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1987.


Feaver, P. D. “Nuclear Command and Control in Crisis: Old Lessons From New History.” Nuclear Command and Control in Crisis, Strategic Studies Institute, Army War College, 2012.

Feaver, P. D., and Eric Lorber. “Coercive Diplomacy: Evaluating the Consequences of Financial Sanctions.” Legatum Institute, 2010.

Feaver, P. D., and Kristin Sharp. “"The Ultimate Balancing Act: Democratic Governance and Nuclear Policy in the United States,".” Governing the Bomb: Civilian Control and Democratic Accountability of Nuclear Weapons, 2010.

Feaver, P. D. “"Domestic Politics and the Long War".” Lessons of the Long War, edited by Thomas Donnelly, AEI, 2010.

Feaver, P. D., and E. Seeler. “Before and After Huntington: The Methodological Maturing of Civil-Military Studies.” American Civil-Military Relations: Realities and Challenges, Johns Hopkins Press, 2009.

Feaver, P. D., and W. Inboden. ““What Was the Point of SPIR? Strategic Planning in National Security at the White House,”.” Avoiding Trivia: The Role of Strategic Planning in American Foreign Policy, edited by Daniel Drezner, Brookings, 2009.

Feaver, P. D. “Interagency Perspective – Lessons.” Proceedings of the 2008 Unrestricted Warfare Symposium, edited by Ronald Luman, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 2008.

Feaver, P. D., et al. “The Reserves and Guard: Standing in the Gap Before and After 9/11.” The All-Volunteer Force: Thirty Years of Service, edited by Barbara A. Bicksler et al., 2004.

Feaver, P. D., and Kristen Thompson Sharp. “Democratic Governance and Nuclear Policy in the United States.” Governing Nuclear Weapons, edited by Hans Born, 2004.

Feaver, P. D., and Lindsay Cohn. “Civil-Military Relations: Challenges and Opportunities.” Over the Horizon: U.S. Defense Issues for the 21st Century, edited by Stephen Cimbala, London: Brasseys, 2003.


Feaver, P. D., and E. B. Lorber. “The sanctions myth.” National Interest, vol. 2015, no. July-August, Jan. 2015.

Feaver, P. D. “Epilogue: Coordinating actors in complex operations and a third way to study two familiar dualities.” Small Wars and Insurgencies, vol. 24, no. 2, May 2013, pp. 370–72. Scopus, doi:10.1080/09592318.2013.778018. Full Text

Feaver, P. D. “Review of Richard Betts’ American Force.” H Diplo/Issf, Nov. 2012.

Feaver, P. D. “"Correspondence: Civilians, Soldiers and the Iraq Surge Decision".” International Security, vol. 36, no. 3, 2012.

Feaver, Peter D. “Civilians, Soldiers, and the Iraq Surge Decision Replies.” International Security, vol. 36, no. 3, MIT PRESS, Dec. 2011, pp. 191–99.

Feaver, P. D. “Peter D. Feaver replies.” International Security, vol. 36, no. 3, Dec. 2011, pp. 191–99.

Feaver, P. D., and C. Gelpi. “Choosing your battles: American civil-military relations and the use of force.” Choosing Your Battles: American Civil Military Relations and the Use of Force, Oct. 2011.

Grieco, J. M., et al. “Let's Get a Second Opinion: International Institutions and American Public Support for War.” International Studies Quarterly, vol. 55, no. 2, June 2011, pp. 563–83. Scopus, doi:10.1111/j.1468-2478.2011.00660.x. Full Text

Feaver, P. D. “The right to be right: Civil-military relations and the Iraq surge decision.” International Security, vol. 35, no. 4, Mar. 2011, pp. 87–125. Scopus, doi:10.1162/ISEC_a_00033. Full Text


Feaver, P. D. “Go Negative On the Allies.” New York Times, 2004.

Feaver, P. D., et al. “Let UN Impose New Accountability.” Newsday, 2004.

Feaver, P. D. “The Clinton Mind-set.” Washington Post, 2004.

Feaver, P. D. “The Fog of WMD.” Washington Post, 2004.

Feaver, P. D. “Whose Military Vote?.” Washington Post, 2004.

Feaver, P. D. “Winning Back Old Europe.” Weeklystandard.Com, 2003.

Feaver, P. D. “Casualties Are the First Truth of War.” Weekly Standard, 2003, pp. 17–18.

Feaver, P. D. “Don’t Substitute Spy Services for Leadership.” Raleigh News and Observer, 2003.

Feaver, P. D. “Will the UN Really Help?.” Washington Post, 2003, pp. 21–21.

Feaver, P. D. “Body Bags Alone Won’t Dampen American Morale.” Usa Today, 2003, pp. 15–15.


Selected Grants

Public Support for Military Operations and Assessing the Determinants of Success awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2004 to 2005