Leadership Development

The goal of the West Point experience is to develop leaders of character who live honorably, lead honorably, and demonstrate excellence.

Leadership Development

The goal of the West Point experience is to develop leaders of character who live honorably, lead honorably, and demonstrate excellence.

Developing Leaders of Character

West Point develops leaders of character through a 47-month process through its academic, military, and physical programs. This West Point Leader Development System (WPLDS) synchronizes the different programs and ensures an emphasis on character development is integrated into each element. 

West Point's culture of character is best exemplified by the cadet honor code.

The Academy's focus on leadership development ensures its graduates thrive in complex environments and are prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation.

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"To build, educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character committed to the Army Values and ready for a lifetime of service to the Army and Nation."

- USMA Mission Statement

Facets of the West Point Leader Development System

The West Point Leader Development System focuses on teaching cadets to live honorably, lead honorably, and demonstrate excellence by focusing on five facets of character - Moral, Social, Civic, Performance, and Leadership. 

Internalization of the Army Values that results in the knowledge, integrity, and awareness to assess the moral-ethical aspects of every situation and the personal courage to take appropriate action regardless of consequences.


  • Learn moral-ethical reasoning in PY201 and Honor Education.
  • Exercise moral reasoning in academic exercises, military training scenarios, and during athletic competitions.
  • Demonstrate moral courage by confronting classmates about honor violations or correcting inappropriate behavior. 

Demonstrates the empathy, loyalty, respect, and humility that enable an individual to treat others with dignity and to display selflessness.

  • Learn about civic character during CCDP classes facilitated by faculty volunteers.
  • Practice civic character in their daily interactions with teammates and opponents on the athletic fields, during clubs activities, while living in the barracks, and during classroom discussions with their fellow cadets.
  • Develop civic character by serving others while cleaning the barracks, conducting service trips to New York City, and participating in numerous forums of tutoring others in math and writing.

Acts with proper decorum in all professional, social, and online environments.

• Engage in opportunities for social growth on AIADs,
conferences, trip sections, and athletic events.
• Learn that cadets and officers live honorably at all
times in all environments.
• Conduct themselves in ways that bring honor to
West Point as they represent the Army Profession in
venues away from West Point.
• Recognize that leaders of character do not hide
behind the veil of anonymity to post hurtful and
damaging material on social media.
• Learn across a multitude of social events to conduct
themselves as honorable leaders at all times.

Possesses the sense of duty, resilience, and grit necessary to accomplish the mission and get results.


  • Demonstrate grit and resiliency during military training, physical testing events, intercollegiate/club/company athletics, and parade practice.
  • Are challenged to pursue excellence in all areas of their development. Achieving the minimum standard with little effort is not acceptable.
  • Strive to improve and push beyond their comfort zone in the many opportunities engaged in the four programs. Whether cadets push themselves to improve their IOCT score or works extra hours to master calculus, they always remain committed to improve.
  • Recover quickly and continue to persevere if faced with a setback.

The ability to inspire and develop others while establishing a safe, positive command climate where everyone thrives while achieving tangible results.


  • Develop leadership character by ensuring their organizations have a positive command climate that enables mission accomplishment. Cadets have multiple opportunities to develop this while serving in formal roles such as the Cadet Chain of Command, as a Section Marcher for a class, Summer Cadre, Club Cadet in Charge, or Team Captain, or informal roles as members of a squad, teammates, and classmates.
  • Learn to encourage others to demonstrate respect and empathy while deliberately taking steps to include every member of the team. Teams can include academic project teams, ad hoc assignment or discussion groups, intramural teams, or summer training.
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"West Point graduates may be gifted thinkers, excellent tacticians, and physically fit athletes, but only if they also demonstrate strong character, will they earn and maintain the trust of the American people and the Soldiers they lead as while serving as stewards of the Army Profession."

-LTG Steven Gilland, 61st USMA Superintendent

Character Development

Developing leaders of character is a shared responsibility. All staff, faculty, and upper-class cadets act as role models and focus on integrating character development into every interaction. Each USMA department, directorate, and center is responsible for character development. The Simon Center for Professional Military Ethic (SCPME) provides specific expertise for character development.