Commodore Josée Kurtz was born in Joliette, Québec and joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1988 as an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy. Following initial naval training leading to her bridge watchkeeping certificate, she specialized in navigation. She navigated frigates and deep draught vessels and had the privilege to share her interest and knowledge as a navigation instructor.
On graduating from the year-long Operations Room Officer Course in 1997, Commodore Kurtz served in HMCS VANCOUVER as Weapons Officer and Combat Officer. She was Executive Officer in HMCS VILLE DE QUÉBEC from 2007 to 2009. During this period, the ship deployed with the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and was diverted on short notice for an anti-piracy escort mission with the United Nations World Food Programme off the Horn of Africa.
Immediately following her second-in-command tour, she was appointed as Commanding Officer of HMCS HALIFAX from 2009 until 2011. The ship’s operational programme included a tasking to the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief mission in Haiti following the devastating January 2010 earthquake. Her major warship command was followed by an appointment as Commandant of the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School from 2011 to 2012.
In addition to service at sea, Commodore Kurtz has gained staff experience from Desk Officer up to Director General level, on the coast, with the Naval Staff, and at National Defence Headquarters. Her most recent appointment was as Departmental Security Officer.
Commodore Kurtz holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ottawa (2005) and a Masters in Defence Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Kingston (2007). She is a graduate of the National Security Programme (2013) at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.
Commodore Kurtz assumed command of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) on 15 June 2019.
Commodore Kurtz dedicates her free time to family activities. The Kurtz family are adept campers and enthusiastic Toronto Blue Jays fans.