Commander NATO Special Operations Headquarters
Vice Admiral Colin J. Kilrain is a career Naval Special Warfare (NSW) SEAL officer with multiple Joint Special Operation duty assignments. Upon completion of Officer Candidate School, VADM Kilrain was commissioned in 1985. He completed Basic Underwater demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in 1986.
VADM Kilrain has participated in special operations in Asia, Europe, Latin American and Africa. Operational Tours in Naval Special Warfare include: SEAL Team Three; the Personal Exchange Program (PEP) with the German Navy Kampfschwimmer Kompanie (SEALS) in Eckernfoerde, Germany; Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU); Commander, Special Operations Command (SOCSOUTH) in Panama as the maritime operations officer; executive officer of Naval Special Warfare Unit Two in Stuttgart, Germany; Commander, Naval Special Warfare Group Two as the task unit commander and special operations adviser on board USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).
His staff assignments include duty as operations officer for State Department's Office of Counterterrorism; Joint Special Operations Command, as deputy commander of the Joint Reconnaissance Task Force; executive office of the President at the White House, where he served on the National Security Council as the director of Strategy and Policy for the Office of Combating Terrorism; the senior defense officer at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico; and as assistant commanding officer, Joint Special Operations Command.
His command tours include: Naval Special Warfare Unit Four, Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico; SEAL Team Four, and Naval Special Warfare Group Two.
VADM Kilrain has deployed on contingency or named operations to Central and South America, The Horn of Africa, the Caribbean, the Balkans, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has worked extensively with international partners in enhancing security cooperation relationships and capabilities.
VADM Kilrain holds a Master of Science degree in National Resources Strategy and Management from the National Defense University's Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF), and is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute where he studied German and Spanish.
VADM Kilrain assumed command of the NSHQ on 15 July 2016.