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Professor Peter Feaver to testify in front of Senate committee regarding nuclear weapons

Peter Feaver, professor of political science and public policy, will testify in front of the Senate Foreign Relations committee Tuesday.

The committee is holding a hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday on the president’s ability to authorize nuclear weapons. Feaver, who has served under two presidential administrations, was formerly on the National Security Council for President George Bush. He will testify alongside General C. Robert Kehler, former commander of the United States Strategic Command, and Brian McKeon, former acting undersecretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Defense.

Another Duke connection at the hearing comes from committee member and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, M.D. ‘88, who returned to Congress Monday after sustaining severe injuries during an altercation with his neighbor.

In a statement last week, the committee’s chairman, Republican Sen. Bob Corker, said members of the Senate from both parties had raised questions about the role of the executive and legislative branches in authorizing the use of nuclear weapons. 

“This continues a series of hearings to examine these issues and will be the first time since 1976 that this committee or our House counterparts have looked specifically at the authority and process for using U.S. nuclear weapons,” Corker, who is from Tennessee, said in his statement. “This discussion is long overdue, and we look forward to examining this critical issue.”

Corker has become a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and referred to the White House as an “adult day-care center” in a Tweet. 

In an August interview, Feaver explained to The Chronicle his concerns about Trump’s potential use of nuclear weapons, especially amid increasingly severe rhetoric with North Korea. 

“It is not accurate to say that a President Trump could fire off a nuclear weapon as recklessly as he can fire off a tweet,” Feaver said. “However, it is the case that in a crisis, for instance with a nuclear-armed North Korea, Trump's temperament could be problematic and could lead to dangerous escalation whereas another President with better self-control might be able to manage it more safely.”