RAdm Santarpia takes over as new Commander of MARLANT and JTFA

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Navy News / July 27, 2020

During a change of command ceremony on June 24 in Halifax, Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) and Joint Task Force Atlantic (JTFA) welcomed a new Commander.

Rear-Admiral (RAdm) Brian Santarpia took over from RAdm Craig Baines, who is posted to Ottawa as Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.

Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), was the presiding officer and the ceremony was live-streamed on Facebook.

In his remarks, RAdm Baines stated, “I feel considerable pride to have had the opportunity to command MARLANT and JTFA over the past three years. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the hard working military and civilian members of our Defence Team for their outstanding support to the RCN and the Canadian Armed Forces. It has been an honour to work with so many great Canadians in the service of our country.”

The Commander of MARLANT and JTFA is responsible for the RCN on the East Coast, as well as for conducting routine and contingency domestic operations within the Atlantic area of responsibility to meet Canada’s defence and security objectives.

“It is a great honour to be the next Commander of MARLANT and JTFA,” said RAdm Santarpia.  “I recognize that I am taking over an extremely professional team of sailors, soldiers, aviators and civilians who are committed to serving Canada. Working together we will continue to meet the day-to-day operational requirements of the Atlantic region while promoting the vital role of the RCN both at home and abroad.”

RAdm Santarpia enrolled in the Canadian Forces Officer Candidate Training Plan as a Maritime Surface Officer in 1986. His operational postings on both the East and West Coasts of Canada included Navigating Officer of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Cormorant and Vancouver, Combat Officer of HMCS Huron, Executive Officer of HMC Ships Chaleur and Halifax, and Commanding Officer of HMCS St. John’s. He was Navigation Instructor at the Naval Officer Training Centre, Head of the Warfare Training Division at Canadian Forces Fleet School (Esquimalt), Operations Officer at Sea Training Pacific, and Commanding Officer of Sea Training Atlantic.

Following his promotion to Captain (Navy) in 2009, he was appointed as a Special Advisor to the Vice Chief of Defence Staff. In 2010, he was appointed Base Commander of CFB Halifax until his departure to attend the National Security Program in 2012.

Promoted to Commodore in July 2013, he was appointed Director General Naval Personnel. He led the transformation of that organization and assumed the duties of the first Director General Navy Strategic Readiness in April 2014.

From December 2014 to April 2015, then Cmdre Santarpia deployed to Bahrain to command Combined Task Force 150, a multinational group of ships and aircraft conducting counter-terrorism operations. Upon his return to Canada, he was appointed as Chief of Staff to the Vice Chief of Defence Staff, and later appointed Director General Plans at the Strategic Joint Staff in July 2016.

In May 2018, he joined the Canadian Joint Operations Command as the Chief of Staff.