Commodore Josée Kurtz of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) officially assumed command of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) during a change of command ceremony held in Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete on Saturday, June 15.
Commodore Josée Kurtz assumed command from Commodore Boudewijn Boots of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
This deployment is part of Operation REASSURANCE, and Canada’s contribution to NATO regional maritime security operations and assurance measures in the Mediterranean region and the Black Sea.
Canada continues to answer the call to serve and contribute to international peace and security. As a founding member of NATO, Canada has demonstrated leadership and will continue to do so under our defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged.
“The appointment of Commodore Josée Kurtz to lead this NATO Maritime Group is a demonstration of the Canadian Armed Forces’ professionalism, leadership and strong commitment to NATO and our Allies. Our members are a visible symbol of Canada’s commitment to international security and cooperation in the region and around the world.”
-Lieutenant-General Mike Rouleau, Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command
“It is an honour and privilege to take command of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two. Over the next six months, I look forward to working with the highly trained and professional sailors from NATO member nations as we take on the challenges of this mission and work together to strengthen global and regional stability.”
-Commodore Josée Kurtz, Commander Standing NATO Maritime Group Two
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Toronto is deployed with the Maritime Task Force as part of OP REASSURANCE and is now the flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2).
SNMG2 is one of four multinational, high readiness maritime forces composed of vessels from allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform tasks ranging from participation in exercises to operational missions. These groups provide NATO with a continuous maritime capability and help to establish Alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits and enhance interoperability among Allied naval forces. They also serve as a consistently ready maritime force to support the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force.
With Commodore Kurtz’s appointment, Canada is currently leading three NATO efforts globally. Since June 2017, the CAF have led a robust multinational rotational NATO Battle Group in Latvia as one of four Framework Nations formed as part of the Alliance’s enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic countries and Poland. Since November 2018, Canada has also led NATO Mission Iraq (NMI), which aims to create the conditions for more effective and sustainable Iraqi security institutions and structures.
Commodore Josée Kurtz is an exceptional leader and outstanding role model and her appointment demonstrates Canada’s leadership and strong commitment to the Alliance. This commitment to multinational naval leadership follows Canada’s recent command of Combined Task Force 150 from December 2018 to April 2019.
The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is making significant contributions to security and stability around the globe, and is an agile, fighting force that can be rapidly deployed and flexibly employed. A capable, steadfast partner, our sailors, and ships have a solid reputation and are always ready to help, lead and fight.