On June 20, 2023, the National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces announced the appointment of Rear-Admiral (RAdm) Josée Kurtz as the new Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) and Joint Task Force Atlantic (JTFA). The change of command ceremony took place at His Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where RAdm Josée Kurtz assumed leadership from RAdm Brian Santarpia.

Image source: https://twitter.com/RCN_MARLANT/status/1671532305528004610?s=20

“I have been proud to represent the sailors, soldiers, aviators, and civilian members who form the foundation of Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic. Maritime Forces Atlantic consistently and skillfully operated at home and abroad with the utmost of commitment to Canada, persevering through challenging times, and I am thankful for my time working alongside these incredible CAF and Defence Team members,” reflected Rear-Admiral Brian Santarpia, outgoing Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic & Joint Task Force Atlantic

As the Commander of MARLANT and JTFA, RAdm Josée Kurtz has the responsibility of overseeing the operations of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) on the East Coast. This includes conducting routine and domestic activities and leading Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) continental operations across Atlantic Canada. The primary objective is to protect Canadian interests and uphold national values both at home and abroad.

In her new role, RAdm Josée Kurtz will also serve as the Maritime Component Commander within Canadian Joint Operations Command. This additional position further solidifies her authority over maritime forces in the region.

All images via: https://twitter.com/RCN_MARLANT/status/1671933984203325456?s=20

RAdm Josée Kurtz joined the CAF in 1988, commencing her career as an officer in the RCN. After completing her initial training, she obtained her Bridge Watchkeeping certificate and specialized in Navigation. In 1997, RAdm Josée Kurtz completed the Operations Room Officer course and assumed roles such as Weapons Officer and Combats Officer aboard His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Vancouver.

From 2007 to 2009, RAdm Josée Kurtz served as the Executive Officer on HMCS Ville de Québec, and from 2009 to 2011, she held the position of Commanding Officer on HMCS Halifax. Notably, during her tenure on HMCS Halifax, the ship was deployed for the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief mission in Haiti in 2010.

In 2011, RAdm Josée Kurtz was appointed Commandant of Canadian Forces Naval Operations School, a position she held until 2012. She subsequently served as Commander for the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) in Alliance Fleet, overseeing operations in the Mediterranean and Black Sea Region from June to December 2019.

RAdm Josée Kurtz has an educational background that includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Ottawa, a Master’s degree in Defence Studies from the Royal Military College, and completion of the National Security Programme at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

Before assuming command of MARLANT and JTFA, RAdm Josée Kurtz served as the Commandant and Vice-Chancellor of the Royal Military College of Canada in 2021.

Rear-Admiral Josée Kurtz, incoming Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic & Joint Task Force Atlantic had this to say about her appointment: “I am deeply honoured to take command over a group of dedicated sailors, aviators, soldiers, and Defence Team members that exemplify the hard work, dedication, and professionalism that Canadians expect from their Canadian Armed Forces. As I take command, I will maintain a steady and faithful watch, continuing that standard of professionalism and dedication that Rear-Admiral Santarpia upheld during his tenure.”