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Col. Chris Costa

Colonel, USA, (Ret.)

Mr. Costa was appointed as the Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the White House. Costa’s 35-year government career included 25 years in counterintelligence, human intelligence and with special operations forces (SOF) in the United States Army, in Central America, Europe, and throughout the Middle East. He ran a wide range of intelligence and sensitive operations in Panama, Bosnia, the first and second Iraq wars, and Afghanistan. Colonel Costa earned two Bronze Stars for sensitive human intelligence work in Afghanistan. Assigned to the Naval Special Warfare Development Group with Navy SEALs, he served as the first civilian squadron Deputy Director. In 2013, Costa was inducted into the United States Special Operations Commando Hall of Honor for lifetime service to US Special Operations. Mr. Costa has been an Adjunct Associate Professor for the Georgetown University Security Studies Program–Walsh School of Foreign Studies since 2021. He has published articles in Terrorism and Political Violence and terrorism-related opinion pieces in The New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, Defense One, The Hill and the Washington Examiner. He has been interviewed as a subject matter expert on terrorism and national security matters by MSNBC, BBC, ABC and Fox News. He holds an M.A. in Strategic Intelligence from American Military University, and an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College; he earned a B.A. from Norwich University. Costa has been the executive director of the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., since 2018.

Thoughtful Leaders. Decision Makers. Activists and Experts.

The Sedona Forum is the McCain Institute’s annual, high-level gathering of national and international leaders held each spring at the Enchantment Resort in the red rock country of Sedona, Arizona. Starting from the assumption of character-driven leadership and core democratic values, The Sedona Forum convenes thought-leaders, decision makers, activists and diverse experts to discuss approaches and solutions to real-world problems.