The Ombudsman Program was introduced to the U.S. Navy by Z-gram 24 on 14 September 1970 by the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. Admiral Zumwalt adapted this program from a 19th century Scandinavian custom originally established by the King to give ordinary private citizens an avenue to express their grievances to high government officials. To improve family readiness, the primary focus of the Navy Family Ombudsman Program is command communications, information and referral, while still providing an avenue for hearing about the welfare of command families. The Navy Ombudsman Program promotes healthy, self-reliant families.
What is an Ombudsman?
Navy Family Ombudsmen are volunteers appointed by the Commanding Officer who serve as a liaison between the Command Leadership and command families, especially during deployments and times of crisis. In addition to facilitating communication, the Command Ombudsman provides information and referral services to the families.
As an Ombudsman, you will:
- Communicate regularly with Command families via a newsletter, careline, e-mail tree and/or phone tree.
- Interact with organizations such as, but not limited to: Fleet and Family Information Center, Chaplain's Office, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, American Red. Cross, Naval Services Family Line and Legal Assistance Offices.
- Provide appropriate referral references and maintain confidentiality.
- Use knowledge of the system to access appropriate level of chain of command for intervention and processing of requests and grievances.
- Maintain, organize, and update records concerning responsibilities and resources.
- Outreach to command families both new arrivals and existing families.
To learn more about the program, please contact the Ombudsman Coordinator at the Fleet and Family Support Center at (847) 688-3603 Ext 100.