Major General Douglas Crissman
(USA, Retired, USMA 1988)


Transformational leadership, leader development, mission command, systems thinking, leading through adversity, coaching. 


A career infantryman and third-generation graduate of West Point, Doug served in a wide variety of command and staff positions around the world and led organizations from the platoon through the two-star level during over 33 years of service including multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

His assignments provided uncommon breadth and unique experiences including a teaching assignment at West Point, two tours in the Pentagon, Executive Officer & Senior Military Advisor to the Secretary of the Army, deputy commander a 20,000-Soldier U.S. Infantry Division (while deployed in Afghanistan), and as Deputy Commander of the British Army’s premier warfighting Division, the 3rd (UK) Division.   

Doug also led the Army’s Mission Command Center of Excellence where he helped refine the Army’s “Mission Command” approach which seeks to empower leaders to exercise disciplined initiative and accept prudent risksAs the Deputy Commander of rotational forces in the Middle East, Doug led through the challenging periods of the pandemic and the final withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

In addition to his work with Thayer Leadership, Doug also serves as an independent consultant and strategic advisor and has been retained by the Army as a senior mentor for several leadership programsHe serves as a Board Member for Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (WWIA) and the American Battle Monuments Foundation (ABMF) and fuels his passion for the great outdoors by working part-time at an outdoor gear store. 

Scholarly Work/Publications

Doug’s published article, “Improving the Leader Development Experience in Army Units,” describes the pivotal role mid-level leaders play in raising the next generation of leaders through deliberate and connected efforts to continuously develop those they lead. Doug’s published article, “I Don’t Know What I’ve Said Until You Tell Me What You’ve Heard,” describes the military’s use of Leader’s Intent, Confirmation Briefs, and Backbriefs to provide clarity to their teams while encouraging feedback and initiative. 


U.S. Army Senior Service College Fellowship; Leadership and National Security Policy; University of Texas 

ME, Systems Engineering, University of Virginia 

BS, Environmental Engineering, United States Military Academy, West Point 


An avid outdoorsman, Doug enjoys hunting, skiing, and recently backpacked several hundred miles on the Appalachian Trail.