COL Everett Spain

Department Head
Professor, USMA


Colonel Everett Spain, U.S. Army, is a Professor, USMA and Head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at West Point. 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 Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) in management from Harvard Business School (Dean's Award), a Master of Business Administration from Duke University's Fuqua School (Spaulding Award), and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from West Point (Association of Graduates Award). He is the author of several articles on leadership and talent management, one of which received the US Army Command and General Staff College's MacArthur Leadership Writing Award. 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 Soldiers' Medal, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and 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, Everett S. P., Bates, Archie L, & Mukunda, G. (TBD), Follow the Leader: Do Career Leaders Matter to First Term Professionals? Using a dataset of 400,000 first-term professional employees (lieutenants) and their senior leaders (battalion commanders) from 1993-current, we measured to see if the employee’s “career leader,” the first tenured supervisor in the organization, influences the first-term professional’s retention decision.  Literature review, hypotheses, and data collection completed, and initial analysis run.  Our regression results show that 1) career leaders’ retention of junior officers can be tracked (for this study, μ= 0.62%, σ2 =0.12), 2) career leaders do matter (ANOVA test significant at the p<0.001 level) on junior employees’ retention, 3) certain developmental experiences predict career leaders will retain their junior employees (West Pointers retain more, top school ROTC graduates do not), 4) the Army promotion system is picking the officers with the highest retention for the most elite jobs (early promotion/command).  Next steps are to see if career leaders matter to high-performing first-term professionals, and, if so, what about those leaders’ development and behavior are different.  Targeted for submission to Academy of Management Journal, Summer 2015.

Spain, Everett S. P. & Groysberg, B. (TBD), Leaders Grading Leaders:  How Do Leaders Grade Junior Leaders and Leaders in Training? We have completed 24 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).

Space, Everett. S. P, Joyce, Maurice, & Gupta, Budhaditya, (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.

Spain, Everett S. P. (TBD).  Do Traits Change during Intense Developmental Experiences?  A Longitudinal Study of West Point Cadet Candidates. I conducted four survey events for the USMAPS Class of 2013 (CC R-Day, after CCBT, after 1st Semester, after 2nd Semester/Graduation) and measured if personality (Five-Factor Model), Motivation to Lead, Goal Orientation, Hardiness, Resilience, and Leadership Identity changed during the year, and if so, how.  I will also compare the surveys with USMAPS performance data to see what predicts success at USMAPS.  The data collection is complete, all data has been coded, and currently in the analysis phase.

Publications & Presentations

Spain, Everett S. P. (2019) The Character of West Point and the Heroes Among Us, The Pointer View, United States Military Academy, May 17, 2019…

United States Military Academy (2018) Developing Leaders of Character- The West Point Leadership Development System.  West Point, NY.  Kelly, D.; Kobylski, G.; Judd, T.; Peterson, J.; Ryan, D.; Spain, E.; West, H.; & Wong-Dodge, M.

Spain, E.; LeBoeuf, J. & Cook, C. (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, Everett & Groysberg, Boris (2016) Making Exit Interviews Count. Harvard Business Review, April 2016, pp. 1900-1907.

Spain, Everett; Mohundro, J.D.; & Banks, Bernard (2015) Intellectual Capital: A Case for Cultural Change, Parameters Journal, Summer 2015, pp. 77-91.

Spain, Everett & Fisher, Daniel T. (2015) The Long Crimson Line: White Paper on the Integration of Harvard University and the US Military. Self-published (available at May 25, 2015.

Peng, Ann C., Riolli, Laura T., Schaubroeck, John, & Spain, Everett S. P. (2012) A Moderated Mediation Test of Personality, Coping, and Health among Deployed Soldiers. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33, 2012, pp. 512-530.

Schaubroeck, John M.; Riolli, Laura T.; Peng, Ann Chunyan; & Spain, Everett S. (2011) Resilience to Traumatic Exposure among Soldiers Deployed in Combat. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Vol 16(1), Jan 2011, pp.18-37.

Spain, Everett S. P., Wait, Glenn, & Gordon, Eric (2011) Human Capital Sustainability in U.S. Army Garrisons, U.S. Army Journal of Installation Management-Plus (online), Spring 2011.

Riolli, Laura, Savicki, Victor, & Spain, Everett (2010) Positive Emotions in Traumatic Conditions: Mediation of Appraisal and Mood for Military Personnel. Military Psychology, 22, 2010, pp. 207-223.

Spain, Everett S. P. (2006) Managing Expectations While Leading Change, Military Review, Fall 2006. 

Spain, Everett S. P. (2005) Leading Beyond Your Sphere of Influence, Leader to Leader Journal, Leadership Breakthroughs from West Point, Wiley & Sons, 2005

Michaelis, Patrick R. & Spain, Everett S. P. (2005), Knowledge Management in Iraq. Leader to Leader Journal, Leadership Breakthroughs from West Point, Wiley & Sons, 2005.

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