Colonel Everett S. P. Spain

COL Everett Spain

Department Head

Professor, USMA


Colonel Everett Spain, U.S. Army, is a Professor of Management and Head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point. Since 2018, he has served as a senior advisor to the Army Talent Management Task Force, focused on the Command Assessment Program (BCAP/CCAP/SMAP). From 2015-2016, Everett served in the HQ, US Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg and in Iraq. Previously, he served at West Point as an Academy Professor and the Director of the Eisenhower Leadership Development Program, a joint-USMA/Columbia University master's degree program.

From 2009-2011, Everett was the commanding officer of the U.S. Army Garrison-Schweinfurt (Germany), responsible for a community of over 10,000 Americans. Prior to that, he was a White House Fellow during the Bush and Obama Administration's transition year, where he served as the acting Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Stability, "the TARP." During 2007-2008, Everett was the aide-de-camp for the Commander, Multi-National Force-Iraq, for “the Surge.”

At the start of his career, Everett was a platoon leader and staff officer at Fort Bragg, where he was a member of the winning team of the 82nd Airborne Division’s Best Ranger Competition and placed 6th in the Army-wide competition. As a captain in Germany, Everett led his company on the initial NATO deployment into Kosovo, after which they were recognized with the Itschner Award, given annually to the outstanding engineer company in the US Army. Everett received a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in management from Harvard Business School, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke University's Fuqua School, and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Engineering from West Point.

Everett is also a licensed professional engineer (PE) and a Holocaust Legacy Partner. Everett is a graduate of U.S. Army Ranger and Sapper Schools and is a Master Parachutist. He is a recipient of the Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and the Secretary of the Treasury’s Honor Award. Additionally, Everett has received three honorary medallions, the Bronze deFluery Medal (Engineers), the Honorary Order of Saint Barbara (Field Artillery), and the Order of Saint Michael (Aviation).

Ongoing Research Projects

Spain, E.; Groysberg, B., Conkey, K.; Burrell, L.; Cartwright, J. (TBD), Leaders Grading Leaders:  How Do Leaders Grade Junior Leaders and Leaders in Training? We have completed 25 in-depth, semi-structured interviews (literature review, hypotheses, and data collection completed), we unpack how leaders rate other leaders and leaders in training that work for them.  We also see how these junior leaders and leaders-in-training perceive they are being graded and segment the results by demographics.  Our initial results (four interviews have been coded) indicate that that senior leaders may perceive their junior leaders’ effectiveness as a function of subjective direct factors (initiative, volunteerism, effort), objective direct factors (performance of the subordinate leader’s people), subjective indirect factors (relationships with raters, physical appearance and demeanor), and objective indirect factors (junior leader’s grades in various non-leadership factors- academics & physical fitness).

Spain, E.; Joyce, M.; Korenman, L.; Cartwright, J.; Tilman, Travis (TBD), Psychological Scale Development: Sense of Social Belonging.  We developed a 16-item psychological construct scale, including two sub-scales, Sense of Social Belonging-Personal and Sense of Social Belonging-Professional using the six-step scale development process (Hunter, 2011).  Pre-test completed (N=49).  The overall scale has a Chronbach’s α > 0.80 (overall scale validity), and we have established convergent validity.  We are preparing to conduct a second survey to check discriminant validity.  We hypothesize that one of the reasons that star performers leave organizations is that they do not feel a sense of social belonging, either personal or professional.

Publications & Presentations


Spain, E., Lin, E., & Farina, A. (2023). Do the Best and Brightest West Point Officers Stay in or Leave the Army? Armed Forces & Society.

Spain, E. S., Konheim-Kalkstein, Y. L., Erbe, R. G., Wilsey, C. N., & Rosenberg, S. F. (2023). We Don’t Do that Here: Using Role Playing and Character Battle Drills to Develop Upstander Behavior at West Point. Journal of Character and Leadership Development, 10(2), 1–13.

Spain, E. S. & Woodruff, T. D. (2022) The applied strategic leadership process: Setting direction in a VUCA world. Journal of Character & Leadership Development.

Spain, E., Matthew, K., Hagemaster, A. (2022) Why senior officers sometimes fail in character: The leaky character reservoir. The US Army War College Quarterly: Parameters 53, no. 4. 5 

Mema, E., Spain, E. S., Martin, C. K., Hill, J. O., Sayer, R., McInvale, H. D., … Thomas, D. M. (2022) Social influences on physical activity for establishing criteria leading to exercise persistence. PLOS ONE 17(10): e0274259.

Boe, O. & Spain, E. S. (2022), Choosing the elite: Recruiting, assessing, and selecting leaders for dangerous contexts, Chapter 17 in Leadership in Dangerous Situations: A Handbook for the Armed Forces, Emergency Services, and First Responders. Eds. Sweeney, M.; Matthews, M.; Lester, P.; & Reed, B. Naval Institute Press. Annapolis, MD

Spain, E. S., Young, L. V., & Lemler, R. P. (2022) Haus liebe brothel: Ethical decision making in a foreign culture. The CASE Journal.

Spain, E., Brennecke, L., & Young, L. (2022) Using a case study to teach leaders how to enact positive organizational change. Journal of Leadership Education, 10 (V21/I1).

Spain, E., Mukunda, G., & Bates, A. (2021) The battalion commander effect. The US Army War College Quarterly: Parameters, 51(3), 10.

Spain, E. S. (2021) The intellectual giant framework. Chapter 12 in Teaching and Learning the West Point Way: Educating the Next Generation of Leaders (Ender, M.; Kimball, R., Sondheimer, R.; Bruhl, J. Eds.). Rutledge. ISBN 9780367685867
Swain, J. E., Bates, A. L., Bowen, J. C., & Spain, E. S. (2021) Transformational or toxic leadership: Tapping feature films for classroom debates. Chapter 15 in Teaching and Learning the West Point Way: Educating the Next Generation of Leaders (Ender, M.; Kimball, R., Sondheimer, R.; Bruhl, J. Eds.). Rutledge. ISBN 9780367685867 

Spain, E. (2020) Reinventing the leader-selection process: The U.S. Army’s new approach to managing talent. Harvard Business Review. November-December 2020.

Spain, E. S.; Lin, E.; & Young, L. V. (2020) Early predictors of successful military careers among West Point cadets. Military Psychology vol 32 no.6, pp. 389-407.

Spain, E. & Reed, B. (2020) Columbia in the nation’s service- Warner Burke and the education of U.S. Army leaders. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. Special issue in honor of Warner Burke.

United States Military Academy (2018) Developing leaders of character: The West Point leadership development system. West Point, NY. Writing team: Kelly, D.; Kobylski, G.; Judd, T.; Peterson, J.; Ryan, D.; Spain, E.; West, H.; & Wong-Dodge, M.

Spain, E. S., LeBoeuf, J. N. G., & Cook, C. L. (2017) A leader’s guide to assessing organizational culture and leading change. In Smith, Swain, Brazil, Cornwell, Britt, Bond, Eslinger, and Eljdid (Eds.), West Point Leadership. New York, NY: Rowan Technology Solutions.

Spain, E. & Groysberg, B. (2016) Making exit interviews count. Harvard Business Review, April 2016, pp. 1900-1907.

Spain, E. S. & Fisher, Daniel T. (2015) The long crimson line: White paper on the integration of Harvard University and the US military. Self-published (May 25, 2015).

Spain, E., Mohundro, J. D., & Banks, B. (2015) Intellectual capital: A case for cultural change, Parameters 45, no.2.

Peng, A. C., Riolli, L. T., Schaubroeck, J., & Spain, E. S. (2012) A moderated mediation test of personality, coping, and health among deployed soldiers. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33, 2012, pp. 512-530.

Schaubroeck, J. M., Riolli, L. T., Peng, A. C., & Spain, E. S. (2011) Resilience to traumatic exposure among soldiers deployed in combat. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Vol 16(1), Jan 2011, pp.18-37.

Riolli, L., Savicki, V., & Spain, E. (2010) Positive emotions in traumatic conditions: Mediation of appraisal and mood for military personnel. Military Psychology, 22, 2010, pp. 207-223.

Spain, Everett S. (2006) Managing expectations while leading change, Military Review, Fall 2006.

Spain, Everett S. (2005) Leading beyond your sphere of influence, Leader to Leader Journal, Leadership Breakthroughs from West Point, Wiley & Sons. 
Michaelis, P. R. & Spain, E. S. (2005), Knowledge shared is power. Leader to Leader Journal, Leadership Breakthroughs from West Point, Wiley & Sons.


Spain, Everett S. (2023) Athena has arrived. Pointer View- West Point’s online newspaper.

Spain, Everett S. (2021) Why do we choose to serve? Pointer View- West Point weekly newspaper (hardcopy), May 12, 2021. Also published in From the Green Notebook (blog).

Spain, Everett S. (2020) The Army’s NFL combine: The battalion commander assessment program. Modern War Institute (online). January 12, 2020.

Spain, Everett S. (2019) The character of West Point and the heroes among us, The Pointer View, United States Military Academy, May 17, 2019.

Spain, Everett S., Wait, Glenn, & Gordon, Eric (2011) Human capital sustainability in U.S. Army garrisons, U.S. Army Journal of Installation Management-Plus (online), Spring 2011.

Spain, Everett S., & Williams, Albert G., (1999) Command team leadership of Task Force Falcon: Camp Bondsteel, The Army Engineer, October 1999.


04OCT23 (podcast) Retaining Good Talent through Inspiring Leadership: A Discussion with Colonel Everett Spain. Inside West Point: Ideas that Impact (Hosted by Brigadier General Shane Reeves, West Point Dean).

02JAN23 (podcast) The Leaky Character Reservoir. Decisive Point Podcast, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. Co-interviewed with Katie Matthew and Andrew Hagemaster.

20SEP22 (video) Stephan Lewy and His Fight Against Nazi Evil. Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Salem State University.

02FEB22 (podcast) The Battalion Commander Effect. Decisive Point Podcast, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. Co-interviewed with Gautam Mukunda and Archie Bates.

10OCT22 (podcast) The Battalion Commander Effect. From the Green Notebook, S3, Ep8.

17MAR21 (podcast) Leading with Character. Co-interviewed with Ms. Indra Nooyi. NASDAQ’s World Reimagined with Gautam Mukunda, Topic: Leading with Character.

23NOV18 (podcast) Leadership and Leader Development. The Sustainable Life with Joshua Spodek, Episode 126.

20AUG16 (podcast) It’s Not You, It’s Me: The Art of the Exit Interview. Audio interview with host Richard Aedy, edited and broadcasted by Radio National, Australia.