The Navy Family Ombudsman Program promotes healthy, self-reliant families.
Why the word "Ombudsman?" The word "Ombudsman" originated in Scandinavian countries and referred to safeguarding the rights of citizens. Today the concept of the Ombudsman is widely utilized in the fields of government, business and healthcare.
In 1970, Admiral E.R. Zumwalt, Jr., then Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), created the Navy Family Ombudsman Program to improve communication between commands and the families of Sailors who served in them.
In 2006, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, CNO, re-emphasized the importance of the program and signed an updated instruction, highlighting the requirement that all Navy families have access to a Navy Family Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman is a volunteer, appointed by the commanding officer, to serve as an information link between command leadership and Navy families. Ombudsmen are trained to disseminate information both up and down the chain of command, including official Department of the Navy and command information, command climate issues, local quality of life (QOL) improvement opportunities and “good deals” around the community.
Ombudsman also provide resource referrals when needed. They are instrumental in resolving family issues before the issues require extensive command attention.
The command ombudsman program is shaped largely by the commanding officer’s perceived needs of his/her command. The command ombudsman is appointed by and works under the guidance of the commanding officer who determines the priorities of the program, the roles and relationships of those involved in it, and the type and level of support it will receive.
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) may appoint two Ombudsmen-at-Large. Traditionally they have been the spouse of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) and another senior military spouse. The Ombudsmen-at-Large are tasked by the CNO to improve family readiness by advising him and the MCPON on matters affecting Sailors and their families.
As they travel throughout the Navy, they meet with Navy leadership, Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) staff, command family ombudsmen, family members and Sailors. They attend meetings and conferences to gain a better understanding of matters affecting our families and ombudsmen. When they travel, they often hold focus groups composed of ombudsmen and spouses to learn about current issues and concerns.
Ombudsman Program Discussion Group Facebook Page
The Ombudsman Facebook page is a private group for ombudsmen, command leadership and senior leadership spouses, Ombudsman Coordinators and Certified Ombudsman Trainers (COTs). Anyone requesting to join the group must be registered in the Ombudsman Registry. This page provides information and hosts a discussion page where members can share information and post resources, etc. Join the U.S. Navy Ombudsman Discussion Group. After confirming that you are registered in the Ombudsman Registry, you will be able to access the page and communicate with other ombudsmen and leadership.