Royal Canadian Navy officer Josee Kurtz has become the first female commander of a NATO Standing Maritime Group as she takes up the helm of Group Two in the Mediterranean until the end of the year.

Commodore Kurtz has over 31 years of naval service, joining the navy at a time when women were only just being allowed to go to sea and hopes her appointment will serve as an inspiration to others of the opportunities a naval career can offer.

Image result for Royal Canadian Navy officer Josee Kurtz

Speaking to the Canadian Press she said that “this appointment speaks to the value of diversity at the sailor end — at the people level I think it’s a tremendous opportunity and I hope that it sends a positive signal.”

She described her appointment as “humbling”, having been chosen from a group of highly distinguished naval officers recommended by the alliance’s constituent navies.

NATO Standing Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) is one of the four flotillas maintained by the NATO alliance and is predominantly based in the Mediterranean. It usually consists of 4-8 escorts provided by various NATO navies with occasional support provided by auxiliary ships.

Since she took command the flotilla has included ships from Turkey, Romania, Germany, Greece and the United Kingdom. With her flagship for the deployment being the Canadian frigate HMCS Halifax which was also her first command in 2009.

The first leg of her deployment saw her undertake two exercises in the Black Sea to support regional allies Ukraine and Bulgaria. British destroyer HMS Duncan, completing her third SNMG2 deployment in three years, joined the group for these exercises prior to her reassignment to support HMS Monmouth in the Persian Gulf.

Exercise Sea Breeze 2019 was led by Ukraine and the United States and saw the flotilla visit Odessa in Ukraine. Though Russian forces monitored the exercise Commodore Kurtz stated that it was able to proceed without incident. The second exercise, Breeze 2019, was then led by Bulgaria working to ensure the readiness of NATO forces to support allies in this region.

“It makes sense that from time to time we pay a visit in areas where some allies and partners have a coastline,” she said highlighting the importance of the NATO presence and the opportunities it offered her Canadian sailors to hone their training.

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Herodotus
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‘Speaks of diversity at the sailor end’…..I have a met a few who were very diverse at the sailor end. Chase me!

Jas
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Jas

Let’s hope her talent was why she has been picked.

George Allison
Editor

The only people suggesting otherwise are folk like yourself, seemingly.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Well said George

Jas
Guest
Jas

Yes i am saying it, i don’t think diversity should play any part in who commands military forces, Talent alone should be the deciding factor.

Wokeness wont save the troops.

Alan Garner
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Alan Garner

Unfortunately recent history would suggest women are indeed elevated into positions, in the public sector especially, not just because they are capable but because it is politically desirable. The bar in both the police and fire service has been empirically lowered to fill diversity quotas in recent decades. Recently a RM friend of mine explained how the push came on in a big way to recruit more female marines once the law was changed. The problem being that, while many females can complete the commando course, it is very unlikely one will ever be found that can do it with… Read more »

Herodotus
Guest

A very eloquent reply Alan that makes some important points. However, it does trouble me that much of the evidence for lowering the bar appears to be anecdotal ….’I know someone who said’ etc. I can only comment on my own experience as a teacher…of the seven managers I have had in 20 years of teaching, five have been women and two men. The women have ranged from competent to very good. The men were poor to absolutely incompetent! Women do face a wall of resentment…particularly in traditionally male roles like the military. That doesn’t mean to say that some… Read more »

Mark
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Mark

The bar should not be lowered. It should be set where it needs to be set to get the job done. Sex, race etc. should not be a criteria. The only qualifying factors should be having the qualities to do the job – nothing else. It is important for everyone that quality is seen to be the one and only factor – this approach is the only one which is likely to build confidence from all concerned.

Alan Garner
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Alan Garner

Herodotus The government, and an increasing number of large private corporations, are extremely open about using diversity quotas and their unequivocal support for them. Quotas by their nature lower the quality of recruitment the pool because you will ALWAYS be excluding a number of talented people from the non prescribed group in favour of the prescribed group. Their use is openly standard practice in most areas of public sector employment. Speaking In my own experience I have seen bar lowering in action but one’s own experiences are just as anecdotal as quoting others. Only really worth doing if the source… Read more »

Herodotus
Guest

Like a little sting in the tail..don’t you? My personal experiences are not anecdotal to me as I can verify them. I can’t verify others’ personal experiences. In making choices in life, we often have little more to go than our own experience. I was in no way supporting diversity quotas, in fact I really dislike social engineering of this nature. I believe, in the long-run, they are counter productive for a number of reasons. But I understand why they are implemented, a drive for fairness in job opportunities is important. But the bottom line must always be, the best… Read more »

Alan Garner
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Alan Garner

I’m sorry you took that as some sort of attack against you, I can assure you it wasn’t intended as such, It’s difficult to tell over the internet sometimes. Of course your personal experiences aren’t anecdotal to you but they are to me, that doesn’t invalidate them and pointing that out wasn’t intended to do so, the intent was to add a little objectivity to what I believed was a shared opinion, apologies for the confusion there. Never thought you were supporting diversity quotas either, in fact I was under the impression we were pretty much in general agreement. The… Read more »

Sjb1968
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Sjb1968

Alan a very good response and having several RM friends and a son that has recently received his green beret I think the facts are slightly more stark than you suggest. There are not many males let alone females who can complete the Commando course and carrying heavy loads is an intrinsic part of the course and is not a bolt on. My son found carrying the GPMG a particularly enjoyable experience. The idea that even a handful of women will ever pass this course as currently configured is fantasy and should be seen as gesture pc politics of the… Read more »

Alan Garner
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Alan Garner

Thanks, that is pretty much how things were explained to me regarding the RM’s. I do fear, given the nature of the pressure, that standards will be quietly lowered in the future, worryingly.

Importantly, that is still a separate issue to this promotion, which I should re-state, given how easily these things are misconstrued, is very unlikely to be a decision based on anything other than military considerations, and is simply a good example that this practice DOES happen in some areas.

Sjb1968
Guest
Sjb1968

Alan I totally agree and although I was honestly skeptical about women in the front line, the skipper of the T45 has convinced me it can work in most areas. That Is what I was trying to say in my second paragraph, forget gender it is all the best people.

Dave
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Dave

Honestly lost for words here. What a vile conclusion to leap too

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

The very fact this exchange is taking place here makes the case that women DO face obstacles, questions and challenges to promotion and indeed general acceptance that men do not ….

It should not even be a matter of any notice let alone discussion. Having said that the comment by the Commodore herself trigger that unnecessary discussion. “So she got promoted. Well done Ma’am. Nothing to see here. Move on” should have been the tone of the quote. From there on the article was very informative and shows the work that goes on below the public’s radar.

Alan Garner
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Alan Garner

Women do not face institutional obstacles in western society that men do not, especially in terms of employment.

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@ Alan Garner – Well I think the reality is that the main obstacle women face are men in high places. But OK on one item: Are you really telling us that they are paid the same as men in the higher echelons where power counts? The BBC is a prime example to prove you are not quite correct. And generally women do not reach those higher levels – its a fact that it is mostly men. And yet Women represent 50% of our society. This was from just last year:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/men-dominate-every-sector-gender-equality-fawcett-society-a8317346.html

Sjb1968
Guest
Sjb1968

Chris we have this debate where I work and whilst I can see in a perfect world things might be 50:50 this does not represent reality. Simply and for the continuation of the species they have children and will for the foreseeable future be the principal parent. Things are changing and in some ways for the good but it seems this current desire for equality values motherhood very low indeed. Flexible working is often aimed at women only, where is the equality in this and how can men take more parental responsibility when such engrained attitudes persist. Perhaps you should… Read more »

SoleSurvivor
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SoleSurvivor

Evening Chris Women won’t, on average be paid more than men or even the same as men in the higher echelons of power such as business, what you’re after there is equality of outcome and it just does not work, as men and women are so different, Jordan Peterson explains that because men and women are different in the “big five” personality traits, openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. This is taken from an article on him “multivariate analysis of the gender pay gap shows that prejudice is only one small factor in the pay gap, one that’s… Read more »

Chris H
Guest
Chris H

@ Sjb1968 @ SoleSurvivor I hope I can answer both excellent posts together: Firstly I am no ‘feminazi’ or in any way seeking to justify some managed 50 / 50 balance. I am, for example, a fierce opponent of ‘female only’ candidate lists as this is blatant discrimination. The best example is MP selection lists that are only open to women ‘to increase the numbers of women’? Its plain wrong and reflects what SoleSurvivor writes about fitness tests for the military and emergency services. Anyone should be able to become an RM or Fire’person’ or even MP. Being a male… Read more »

Frank62
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Frank62

Anyone know the ships in the pic please?

Alan Garner
Guest
Alan Garner

Canadian Halifax Class (not sure which hull) and Romanian “Amiral Petre Barbuneanu” corvette, I believe.