The Spy Museum Names COL Christopher Costa (USA-Ret.) New Executive Director


Today the International Spy Museum (SPY) announces the appointment of Colonel Christopher P. Costa (USA-Ret.) as the nonprofit’s new Executive Director. He assumed his duties at the Museum on Monday, February 12. 

COL Costa comes to the Spy Museum with over 30 years of experience in national security, counterintelligence and counterterrorism, unconventional warfare, and human intelligence from his work for the White House, Department of Defense, and US Armed Forces. Most recently, he served as Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director of Counterterrorism for the White House National Security Council. Costa will replace Founding Executive Director Peter Earnest, who moves to a position on the Board of Directors after leading the Museum as Executive Director since its inception in 2002.

"We looked for a seasoned intelligence professional to fill the shoes of Founding Director Peter Earnest, a man who helped build this Museum into the educational powerhouse that has brought in upwards of 9 million visitors since it opened," says Museum Founder and Board Chairman Milton Maltz."We knew immediately that Chris was the right person for the job. His extensive intelligence background, endless passion and drive, and lifelong focus on education makes him uniquely qualified to spearhead the big plans and even bigger vision the Spy Museum has in store.”

Over the course of Costa’s career, he served as Chief of Human and Counterintelligence for United States Central Command (CENTCOM), as the Commander of a Theater Special Operations Task Force for Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT), and as a Deputy Director at the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. He spent a quarter century on active duty in the US Army, during which he was deployed to Panama, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is the recipient of two Bronze Stars for intelligence work in Afghanistan, as well as the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. In May 2013 he was inducted into the Commando Hall of Honor of the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

"It is both gratifying and humbling to take on the role of Executive Director for this unique, world-class institution,” says Costa. “After a long, rewarding career of service, I look forward to putting my experience towards SPY’s educational mission, helping the public better understand the process and impact of intelligence, as well as contributing to the Museum through its next phase of life at L’Enfant Plaza – expanding upon the stories we can share and the experiences we can offer the millions of visitors who join us from around the world.”

Costa recently served as an adjunct instructor in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis at Norwich University, where he earned a BA in Criminal Justice in 1984. He also holds MAs in Strategic Intelligence (American Military University) and National Security and Strategic Studies (US Naval War College). He has amassed a collection of approximately 2,000 books on the subjects of intelligence and espionage. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife Donna. They are the parents of two sons.

The International Spy Museum is slated to open its doors at L’Enfant Plaza in Southwest Washington, DC, in 2019. The planned 140,000-square-foot facility more than doubles the floor space of the current museum and boasts new exhibits offering a comprehensive, global perspective on intelligence; an increased focus on STEM; more interactive opportunities; rotating temporary exhibit space; larger space for educational programming; and special events space with sweeping views of the Capitol and Washington Monument. Until then, visitors can still enjoy the captivating experience that has drawn visitors to the 800 F Street location since its opening.