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. “Social Sources of Inadvertent Nuclear Use in the Former Soviet Union: Civil-Military Relations and the Black Market.” Implications of the Dissolution of the Soviet Union for Accidental/Inadvertent Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction, edited by Carin Atterling Wedar et al., Tallinn: Estonian Academy of Sciences, 1992.

Feaver, P. D. “The Evolution of American Nuclear Doctrine.” A Primer for the Nuclear Age, edited by Graham Allison and et al, Lanham, M.D.: University Press of America, 1990.

Feaver, P. D. “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Energy: Promise or Peril.” Target Earth, edited by Frank Kaleb Jansen, Pasadena, CA: Global Mapping International, 1989.


Coletta, D., and P. D. Feaver. “Civilian monitoring of U.S. military operations in the information age.” Armed Forces and Society, vol. 33, no. 1, Oct. 2006, pp. 106–26. Scopus, doi:10.1177/0095327X05282530. Full Text

Aldrich, J. H., et al. “Foreign policy and the electoral connection.” Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 9, July 2006, pp. 477–502. Scopus, doi:10.1146/annurev.polisci.9.111605.105008. Full Text

Feaver, P. D., et al. “Civilian control and civil-military gaps in the United States, Japan, and China.” Asian Perspective, vol. 29, no. 1, Dec. 2005, pp. 233–71.

Gelpi, C., et al. “Success matters - Casualty sensitivity and the war in Iraq.” International Security, vol. 30, no. 3, Dec. 2005, pp. 7–46. Scopus, doi:10.1162/016228805775969573. Full Text

Feaver, P. D. “The civil-military gap in comparative perspective.” Journal of Strategic Studies, vol. 26, no. 2, June 2003, pp. 1–5. Scopus, doi:10.1080/01402390412331302945. Full Text

Feaver, P. D. “Special Section: The Civil-Military Gap in Comparative Perspective.” Journal of Strategic Studies, June 2003.

Feaver, P. D. “The Case for the Defense, a book review of Rumsfeld: A Portrait.” Weekly Standard, 2003, pp. 34–35.

Gelpi, Christopher, and Peter D. Feaver. “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick? Veterans in the Political Elite and the American Use of Force.” American Political Science Review, vol. 96, no. 04, Dec. 2002, pp. 779–93.

Gelpi, C., and P. D. Feaver. “Speak softly and carry a big stick? Veterans in the political elite and the American use of force.” American Political Science Review, vol. 96, no. 4, Jan. 2002, pp. 779–93. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S000305540200045X. Full Text


Feaver, P. D., et al. The Reserves and Guard: Standing in the Gap Before and After 9/11. Edited by Barbara A. Bicksler et al., 2004.

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.

Feaver, P. D., and Lindsay Cohn. Civil-Military Relations: Challenges and Opportunities. Edited by Stephen Cimbala, London: Brasseys, 2003.

Feaver, P. D. “Axis of Rudeness.” Weekley Standard, 2003, pp. 10–11.

Feaver, P. D., and Stefan Halper. “Dithering Over Detainees.” Washington Times, 2003, pp. B01–B01.

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.