The Ombudsman is a VOLUNTEER, appointed by the commanding officer to serve as the official information link between command leadership and Navy families. They also assist in the morale and welfare of command families. Executing programs at the commanding officer's discretion, Ombudsmen are incorporated as full members of the commanding officer's team.
The Commanding Officer determines the priorities of the Ombudsman program, the roles and relationships of those involved in it, and the type and level of support it will receive. Ombudsmen are pragmatic and flexible. Their responsibilities to command families include but are not limited to providing information on family programs, community resources, pertinent local and base phone numbers, and ship's movements and arrival times when released by the command. The ombudsman knows the roles of the Fleet & Family Service Center, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, American Red Cross, and chaplains as well as when and how to refer families for appropriate assistance. Command leadership also looks to the Ombudsman for command climate issues and local quality of life (QOL) improvement opportunities. A command Ombudsman must attend Ombudsman Basic Training and monthly Advanced Trainings/Assemblies to stay current on all available information.
How can an OMBUDSMAN help me? Navy Family Ombudsmen are key resources for family members, particularly during deployments. Ombudsmen maintain current resource files with information on military and civilian community agencies that can help families solve a variety of problems, and successfully meet the challenges they face in everyday life before, during, and after deployments. In addition to providing referral information, Ombudsmen can facilitate communication between the Command and family members. Ombudsmen may publish or contribute to command newsletters or maintain care lines, which have recorded messages with information for command families that can be accessed 24 hours a day. Ombudsmen can also assist families in contacting the Command for a variety of reasons.