Ombudsman

What is the Ombudsman Program?
The Ombudsman Program is a command-operated program, intended to improve communication between the command and a Sailor's family members. Navy family ombudsmen are communication links, information and referral resources and advocates for command family members.

What are the functions of an ombudsman?
An ombudsman communicates regularly with command families, provides information and outreach to command families, provides appropriate referral resources and acts at an advocate for command families.

How does someone become an ombudsman?
Appointed by the commanding officer, command ombudsmen are volunteers and spouses of service members within the command. Someone can apply for this position when the command advertises for volunteers or they can request to be placed on a standby list of volunteers for future consideration when a position(s) becomes available. Volunteers are screened, selected and appointed by the commanding officer. A board, which may include the command master chief, executive officer, current ombudsman and other command members may assist the commanding officer in the selection process.

What training is provided to the ombudsman?
The ombudsman, with command support, received Ombudsman Basic Training (OBT). OBT is a standardized course that provides the required knowledge and develops the skills necessary to perform effectively as the command ombudsman. Ombudsmen continue their education by attending ongoing training. These trainings provide in-depth information on a variety of topics such as public speaking, organizing resources, newsletter training and more.

Is financial support available for an ombudsman?
The command, based on an authorized budget, can provide reimbursement of personal expenses incurred during performance of ombudsman duties. Reimbursable items can include childcare, mileage, communication equipment (such as a computer, cell phone and pager), Internet service, telephone lines and travel expenses.

Is the Navy the only branch that has an ombudsman program?
Yes and no. The Marine Corps has a the Key Volunteer Program which closely resembles the Navy Ombudsman Program and the Army has the Family Readiness Program.

Do current ombudsmen have to attend Ombudsman Basic Training again with the new materials?
No. If they want to and their command will support it, they are welcome to do so. However, Ombudsman Assembly meetings and advanced training meetings should provide them with the updates and any changes to instructions and the manual.

Who is the ombudsman's point of contact at the command?
Ombudsmen work for the commanding officer at a command. Generally, the commanding officer appoints the command master chief to be the point of contact for the ombudsmen. Most commanding officers will meet with their ombudsmen periodically.

Who can be an ombudsman?
It is Navy personnel policy that persons appointed as Navy Family Ombudsmen are the spouses of active duty members of the command or selected reserves. If the commanding officer is unable to select the spouse of an active duty or selected reservist then it refers them to enclosure (1) of OPNAVINST 1750.1F for waiver procedures.

Who can use ombudsmen services?
The ombudsman is a vital link between the command and Navy families. In broader terms, the Navy family is made up of all active duty and selected reserve Navy members, including single and married service members, their family members, the service member's parents, siblings and others at the discretion of the commanding officer.

The Fleet and Family Support Center is in touch with all NAS Jax tenant command ombudsmen. If you are not sure who your ombudsman is, call (904) 542-5745.

 

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