Adm. Kurt Tidd graduated in 1974 from Porter-Gaud School, Charleston, South Carolina, and was commissioned from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1978, with a degree in foreign area studies. Selected in 1984 as an Olmsted Foundation Scholar, Tidd is a French linguist with a master's degree in political science from the University of Bordeaux, France. He also is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College and was a Federal Executive fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States.
At sea, he commanded U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet. Afloat, he also commanded Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8 aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), during a combat deployment supporting coalition forces in Operation Enduring Freedom. From 2004 to 2005, he commanded Persian Gulf maritime operations as commander, Middle East Force and commander, Task Force 55. Previous sea duty assignments include: commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 50; commanding officer, USS Arthur W. Radford (DD 968); and executive officer aboard USS Leftwich (DD 984). Tidd was operations officer aboard USS Deyo (DD 989); flag lieutenant to Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group 8; boilers officer aboard USS America (CV 66); and communications officer and main propulsion assistant on USS Semmes (DDG 18).
Ashore, he served as the 35th assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the joint staff director and vice director for Operations (J3). He spent three years on the National Security Council Staff as director for Strategic Capabilities Policy, and as a director for Combating Terrorism. He was the founding deputy for Operations on the Chief of Naval Operations’ War on Terrorism Operations Planning Group "Deep Blue," established following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He was the assistant chief of staff for Operations (N3) at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet, Manama, Bahrain. At the Pentagon, he was in the Navy Staff Strategy and Policy Division (N51) and was the political-military analyst in the Secretary of the Navy's Office of Program Appraisal. Tidd was the strategic planner on the Chief of Naval Operations' Executive Panel (N-00K), and at North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium, he was aide to the U.S. representative, NATO Military Committee.
Tidd was awarded the Legion of Honor by the government of France. He also holds various decorations and awards, including two awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal and four awards of the Legion of Merit.