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Naval Special Warfare Center holds Change of Command Ceremony

by MC1 (SW/AW) Benjamin Kittleson, Naval Special Warfare Center Public Affairs
26 July 2021

“Appropriately named the ‘Center,’ Naval Special Warfare Center is where it all starts,” said the event’s presiding officer and guest speaker, Vice Adm. Timothy Szymanski, deputy commander, United States Special Operations Command. “How the Center evolves and changes in how it recruits, assesses, selects and trains its SEALS, Combatant-craftsmen, and technical support personnel will be critical to Naval Special Warfare’s role in our nation’s preparedness to preserve peace. Capt. Randall, you’ve done an incredible job laying the groundwork for change and modernization of Naval Special Warfare.”

Randall began his tenure as NSWCEN commodore in June 2019, overseeing several milestones including:
• Maintaining sea, air and land (SEAL) and special warfare combatant-craft crewman (SWCC) candidate selection goals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Establishing new outreach initiatives to meet Naval Special Warfare’s (NSW) needs for the next generation of operators to join the force.
• Spearheading the development and implementation of a new talent management program to enhance the method of leadership selection and promotion within NSW.
• Overseeing the successful assessment, selection and graduation of NSW’s first female operator.

Randall joined NSWCEN by way of Naval Special Warfare Command. His previous tours include SEAL Teams 1, 5 and 2, Special Boat Team 12, and Naval Special Warfare Development Group. He has completed multiple deployments to the U.S. Central Command, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Europe Command, and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command areas of operation. Randall is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) Class 203.

“It has been my honor and pleasure to serve alongside the men and women of NSWCEN. Any success noted during my tenure is a testament to their hard work and professionalism,” said Randall. “What we do every day is truly a team sport. Our mandate is to assess and select those with the character, cognitive and leadership attributes required to join the NSW community, and I know that the reason we are able to do so successfully is that our team lives out those traits every day. I depart NSWCEN with full confidence that this team is ready for any and every challenge ahead."
Capt. Brian Drechsler assumed command as NSWCEN’s 18th commodore after completing a successful tour at Naval Special Warfare Command as the chief of staff. Also a United States Naval Academy alumnus and a Class 224 graduate of BUD/S, he has completed operational tours at SEAL Teams 1, 5 and Naval Special Warfare Development Group. He was awarded the Navy’s 2017 Stockdale Leadership award, which recognizes commanding officers who demonstrate inspirational leadership both professionally and personally. He has completed deployments in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command areas of operation.

“This is a great time to be a part of Naval Special Warfare as we transform how we assess, develop and train for the character, cognitive and leadership attributes that are necessary for the force to pivot towards strategic competition,” Drechsler said. "Our nation requires Naval Special Warfare to be constantly evolving to be highly reliable, relevant, authentic, timeless and accountable. NSWCEN is at the forefront on all these initiatives.”

During the ceremony, a symbolic transfer also took place for NSWCEN’s command master chief, when Master Chief (SEAL) Walter Dittmar transferred his role to Master Chief (SEAL) Neil Shaw. A command master chief is the most senior enlisted member of a command, serving as a strategic advisor and liaison to the commanding officer.

Naval Special Warfare Center, located on Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, provides initial assessment and selection and subsequent advanced training to the Sailors who make up the Navy’s SEAL and Special Boat communities. These communities support the NSW mission, providing maritime special operations forces to conduct full-spectrum operations, unilaterally or with partners, to support national objectives. For more information on the NSW pipeline, visit