Feaver, Peter D. 1961-

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Feaver, Peter D. 1961-


Born December 17, 1961, in Fountain Hill, PA; son of Douglas David and Margaret Ruth Feaver; married Karen Michelle Geers, August 11, 1990; children: two sons and one daughter. Education: Lehigh University, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1983; Harvard University, M.A., 1986, Ph.D., 1990. Religion: Evangelical. Hobbies and other interests: Golf, squash, basketball, swimming, choral music.


Office—Department of Political Science, Duke University, 326 Perkins Library, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708. E-mail—[email protected]


Duke University, Durham, NC, assistant professor, 1991-98, associate professor, 1998-2003, professor, 2003—, Alexander F. Hehmeyer Professor of Political Science, 2004—; National Security Council Staff, Washington, DC, director for defense, policy, and arms control, 1993-94; special advisor for strategic planning and institutional reform, 2005—. Director, Triangle Institute for Security Studies, 1999—. Consultant to Institute for Defense Analyses, 1985-99. Lecturer. Military service: United States Navy, lieutenant commander, U.S. Naval Reserve Officer, 1990—.


International University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society, International Studies Association, American Political Science Association, Phi Beta Kappa.


Navy Commendation Medal, 1994; distinguished teaching award, Trinity College, 1994-95; Harvard MacArthur fellow, Harvard University, 1985-87; Distinction in Teaching certificate, Harvard University, 1985-86, 1986-87; distinguished undergraduate teaching award, Duke University Alumni Association, 2001.



(With Peter Stein) Assuring Control of Nuclear Weapons: The Evolution of Permissive Action Links, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1987.

(Editor, with Stephen D. Biddle) Battlefield Nuclear Weapons: Issues and Options, Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), 1989.

Guarding the Guardians: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1992.

(Editor, with Richard H. Kohn) Soldiers and Civilians: The Civil-Military Gap and American National Security, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

(With Christopher Gelpi) Choosing Your Battles: American Civil-Military Relations and the Use of Force, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2004, new edition with new afterword, 2005.

Contributor to books, including Soldiers and Civilians: The Gap between the Military and American Society and What It Means for National Security, 2001; Over the Horizon: U.S. Defense Issues for the 21st Century, edited by Stephen Cimbala, Brasseys (London, England), 2003; and The All-Volunteer Force: Thirty Years of Service, edited by Barbara A. Bicksler and others, 2004. Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, Washington Post, American Political Science Review, Weekly Standard, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times.


Peter D. Feaver is a professor of political science whose military background and expertise led to his appointment as a member of the National Security Council staff at the White House. During his first term of service with the Security Council, his responsibilities included making policy for regional nuclear arms control, counterproliferation, and other security and defense policy matters. In 2005, he became the Security Council's special advisor for strategic planning and institutional reform. Feaver's books discuss the use of tactical nuclear weapons, the control of nuclear weapons, and the balance of military-civil relations.

Feaver's 1993 book Guarding the Guardians: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States is part of a series that covers security affairs. Instead of focusing on nuclear strategy, Feaver considers who has physical control of the world's nuclear weapons. He explains the problems that arise in establishing control over these weapons and in ensuring that they are never accidentally detonated. Yet human and technological accidents are inevitable, and increased efforts to control lead to cycles of resistance and interference. Feaver details the official chain of command that must be followed in any nuclear engagement, explaining the safeguards that are built into it. It is a book that "belongs on the shelves of major university libraries and interested scholars," according to Claude E. Welch, Jr., in the American Political Science Review. He further noted that the book contains "some fresh details on previously plowed ground," and stated that the author's suggestions "ought to be pondered in Washington and other nuclear capitals."

Feaver and coeditor Richard H. Kohn presented evidence collected from a wide-ranging survey about the tensions and interplay between the political parties of the United States and its military forces in their book Soldiers and Civilians: The Civil-Military Gap and American National Security. The editors uncover some disturbing gaps in communication between the parties and the military, offering insights that should be acted upon, according to Elizabeth L. Tolle, M. Snider, and Dr. Don in Parameters. They concluded: "We commend this work for its remarkable and rigorous documentation and analysis in this area of inquiry." Another enthusiastic endorsement came from James Stavridis in the Naval War College Review. He wrote: "If you intend to own only a single volume on the crucial question of civil-military relations in the United States, choose this book."

Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight and Civil-Military Relations sums up the existing state of affairs in civil-military relations and challenges it with a new theory, based on certain principles of microeconomics. The idea that all parties want work to be available for minimum pay and that all workers want to be paid for minimal work can also be applied to civil-military relations, according to Feaver. "It is difficult to criticize this book," commented James R. McKay in the Canadian Army Journal. "Feaver has presented a strong challenge to the existing paradigm. He provides a comprehensive review of the dominant civil-military relations theories as well as a well-argued counterpoint to those theories."

Feaver and coauthor Christopher Gelpi examined the differing schools of thought about the use of military force in Choosing Your Battles: American Civil-Military Relations and the Use of Force. They analyze twenty-one studies that give insight into the workings of civil-military operations, and their book is "enlightening, timely, and strongly recommended," stated Paul G. Niesen in an Air & Space Power Journal review. He further said: "This book should be on the ‘must read’ list for every top government official, military planner and strategist."



Air & Space Power Journal, winter, 2005, Paul G. Niesen, review of Choosing Your Battles: American Civil-Military Relations and the Use of Force, p. 106.

Air Power History, winter, 2004, Stephane Lefebvre, review of Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations, p. 57.

American Political Science Review, December, 1993, Claude E. Welch, Jr., review of Guarding the Guardians: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States, p. 1053.

America's Intelligence Wire, December 7, 2005, Tiffany Webber, "Duke Professor Has Effect at Capitol in D.C."; February 11, 2005, transcript of Fox News interview with Peter Feaver by John Gibson.

Canadian Army Journal, autumn, 2005, James R. McKay, review of Armed Servants, p. 117.

Chronicle of Higher Education, February 20, 2004, Nina C. Ayoub, review of Choosing Your Battles.

Europe Intelligence Wire, July 21, 2003, "Mounting Casualites in Iraq Not Yet Imminent Threat to Public Support for Mission, Duke Political Scientists Say."

Foreign Affairs, March-April, 1994, Eliot A. Cohen, review of Guarding the Guardians, p. 150.

Independent Review, winter, 2005, Andrew J. Bacevich, review of Choosing Your Battles, p. 448.

Military Review, May-June, 2003, Jesus F. Gomez, review of Soldiers and Civilians: The Civil-Military Gap and American National Security, p. 94.

National Review, July 14, 2003, Mackubin Thomas Owens, review of Armed Servants.

Naval War College Review, summer, 2002, James Stavridis, review of Soldiers and Civilians, p. 175.

Parameters, autumn, 2002, Elizabeth L. Tolle, M. Snider, and Dr. Don, review of Soldiers and Civilians, p. 141.

Political Science Quarterly, fall, 2001, Samuel P. Huntington, review of Soldiers and Civilians, p. 501.


Partnership for Democratic Governance and Security Web site,http://www.pdgs.org.ar/ (March 22, 2007), biographical information about Peter D. Feaver.

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