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. “Optimists, Pessimists, and Theories of Nuclear Proliferation Management.” Security Studies, vol. 4, no. 4, June 1995, pp. 754–72. Scopus, doi:10.1080/09636419509347602. Full Text

Feaver, P. D. “The Politics of Inadvertence.” Security Studies, vol. 3, no. 3, Mar. 1994, pp. 501–08. Scopus, doi:10.1080/09636419409347559. Full Text

Green, William C., and W. Robert Reeves. “The Soviet Military Encyclopedia.” Armed Forces and Society, 1994.

FEAVER, P. D. “COMMAND AND CONTROL IN EMERGING NUCLEAR NATIONS.” International Security, vol. 17, no. 3, MIT PRESS, Dec. 1993, pp. 160–87.

Feaver, P. D. “Proliferation Optimism and Theories of Nuclear Operations.” Security Studies, vol. 2, no. 3–4, June 1993, pp. 159–91. Scopus, doi:10.1080/09636419309347523. Full Text

Feaver, P. D. “Proliferation Optimism and Theories of Nulcear Operations.” Security Studies, vol. 2, no. 3/4, 1993.

Feaver, Peter D., et al. “Sex as contract: abortion and expanded choice..” Stanford Law & Policy Review, vol. 4, Dec. 1992, pp. 211–20.

Feaver, P. D., and R. P. Beschel. “The Churches and the War.” The National Interest, Mar. 1991.

Feaver, Peter D., and Mitchell Reiss. “Bridled Ambition: Why Countries Constrain their Nuclear Capabilities..” Political Science Quarterly, vol. 111, no. 1, pp. 169–169. Manual, doi:10.2307/2151937. Full Text


Feaver, P. D. Civil-Military Conflict and the Use of Force. Edited by Donald Snider and Miranda A. Carlton-Carew, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1995.

Feaver, P. D. The Use and Control of Military Power. SUNY Press, 1994.

Feaver, P. D., and Kurt M. Campbell. Rethinking Key West: Service Roles and Missions after the Cold War. 1993.

Feaver, P. D. Biographical chapter on Joseph S. Nye. Greenwood Press, 1993.

Feaver, P. D. Social Sources of Inadvertent Nuclear Use in the Former Soviet Union: Civil-Military Relations and the Black Market. Edited by Carin Atterling Wedar et al., Tallinn: Estonian Academy of Sciences, 1992.

Feaver, P. D. “Why Sanctions Are an Iffy Remedy.” The Christian Science Monitor, 1992.

Feaver, P. D., and Robert P. Beschel. “Coup’s Lessons for Central Europe.” The Christian Science Monitor, 1991.

Feaver, P. D. “Generosity Begins Only After the Battle.” L.A. Times, 1991.

Feaver, P. D. “What Colors Should Our Soldiers Be?.” L.A. Times, 1991.

Feaver, P. D., and Mark Wayda. “The Risk of Letting the Warriors Run a War.” Christian Science Monitor, 1991.