Peter Feaver

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Peter Feaver
Special Advisor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Reform
In office
President George W. Bush
Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control
In office
President Bill Clinton
Personal details
Born Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Lehigh University
Harvard University

Peter Douglas Feaver (born December 17, 1961) is American professor of political science and public policy at Duke University. He is a scholar in civil-military relations. Feaver has served as the director of the Triangle Institute for Security Studies since 1999, and founded the Duke Program in American Grand Strategy. In 2007 he returned from service in the Bush administration, where he served as a Special Advisor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Reform on the National Security Council. Prior to working on the National Security Council of George W. Bush, Feaver served as Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. He was also a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve.[1] Feaver is considered a leading figure of the evangelical intelligentsia movement.

Early life and education

Feaver was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. His father was a professor of Classics at Lehigh University and later a Youth With a Mission missionary at the University of the Nations. His mother was a homemaker. He graduated from Liberty High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1979.

Feaver earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University in 1990, his A.M. from Harvard University in 1986, and his undergraduate degree in International Relations Summa Cum Laude from Lehigh University in 1983. His dissertation at Harvard was entitled, “Guarding the Guardians: Civil-Military Relations and the Control of Nuclear Weapons.” Samuel Huntington, Ashton Carter, and Joseph Nye were all on his dissertation committee, of which Nye was the Chair.[1]


Feaver’s primary and current employment has been as a professor of Duke University where he writes on Civil-Military Relations, American Foreign Policy, American Defense Policy, Nuclear Operations, Nuclear Proliferation, Information Warfare, and International Relations Theory. In addition to his work at Duke and in the administrations of W. Bush and Clinton, Feaver consults with various policy think tanks and research organizations.[1] Feaver also Co-Moderates the Shadow Government Blog of[2]

He arrived at Duke in 1991, received tenure in 1998, was promoted to full professor in 2003, and then was the Alexander F. Hehmeyer Professor of Political Science and Public Policy from 2004 to 2009.[1]

Feaver's government positions include serving on the National Security Council staff's of two different U.S. Presidential administrations. He served as the Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control from 1993–1994 under the Clinton administration, and later as the Special Advisor for Strategic Planning and Institutional Reform from 2005–2007 under the W. Bush administration.[1] During his time on the National Security Council of President Bush, he was involved in several Iraq strategy reviews, including the one that led to the 2007 surge strategy.[3]

As a professor, Feaver has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards. In 2001 he received the Duke Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award. He also received the 1994–1995 Trinity College Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award and was nominated for the Trinity College Distinguished Teaching Award for 1992–1993 and 1994–1995. Additionally, he received the Harvard Certificate of Distinction in Teaching for 1985–1986 and 1986–1987 and a Navy Commendation Medal in 1994. He was a Visiting Professor of Strategic Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in 2011.[1]


Feaver is the author or co-author of five books, including Getting the Best Out of College: A Professor, A Dean, and a Student Tell You How to Maximize Your Experience (2012) ISBN 978-1607741442, Paying the Human Costs of War (2009) ISBN 978-0691139081, Choosing Your Battles: American Civil-Military Relations and the Use of Force (2004) ISBN 978-0691124278, Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations (2004) ISBN 978-0674017610, and Guarding the Guardians: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States (1992) ISBN 978-0801426759.[1]

His most recent academic publications or co-publications include “Brass Politics: How Retired Military Officers are Shaping Elections,” (November 2012), “Military Campaigns: Veterans Endorsements and Presidential Elections,” (October 2012), and "American Grand Strategy At the Crossroads: Leading From the Front, Leading From Behind, or Not Leading at All” (May 2012).[4]

Personal life

Feaver is married with three children and attends Blacknall Presbyterian Church. He sang in the Harvard Din & Tonics from 1984 to 1986.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Feaver, Peter. "Peter Douglas Feaver Curriculum Vitae." Duke University, 12 Dec 2010<>
  2. Feaver, Peter. Shadow Government: Notes from the Loyal Opposition. Foreign Policy, n. d. Web. Web. 23 Jan. 2013. <>.
  3. Bush, George. Decision Points. New York: Random House, 2010.
  4. "Duke Sanford School of Public Policy." Peter D. Feaver, Professor of Political Science, Director, Triangle Institute for Security Studies and Director, Program in American Grand Strategy . Duke University. Web. 23 Jan 2013. <>.
  5. "The Harvard Din and Tonics." Alumni. The Harvard Din and Tonics. Web. 23 Jan 2013. <>.

External links