Most command leaders agree: an effective ombudsman can be a priceless asset. Ombudsmen play a key role in linking commands and families to ensure accurate, timely communication.
FFSC provides training, consultation, and support to command-appointed ombudsmen:
- Ombudsman Basic Training is required for all ombudsmen.
- CO, XO, CMC/COB spouses, and Chaplains are also encouraged to attend.
- Advanced trainings are provided to address current issues and better prepare ombudsmen for their duties.
The Role of the Command Ombudsman
The Navy Family Ombudsman is vital to the welfare of the command's families, and in this unique role, as an officially appointed volunteer, the duties are wide-ranging. The Ombudsman has been trained to know when to provide information, when to be a referral source and how to be receptive to family members when they call.
Ombudsmen serve as the primary communications link between the families and the command, and the channel of official information from the command to the families.
Disseminate timely and critical information, regularly, through newsletters, care-line/info-lines, telephone trees, and e-mail.
Supply information about and referrals to military and civilian support organizations like, Fleet and Family Support Centers, American Red Cross, Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, Chaplains, medical facilities, and legal assistance offices. These organizations are valuable resources in obtaining assistance for command family members.
Provide support to family members seeking professional assistance and refer them for counseling. Ombudsmen, in their official role, are not counselors or social workers.
Act as an advocate for the command families, using knowledge of the system, can help access the appropriate level of the chain of command for intervention and forward suitable requests or grievances while exercising confidentiality.
Support command-sponsored groups and activities and advertise support group activities, as permitted by the command.
Navy Ombudsman Basic Training
This training consists of 9 modules that help official command ombudsmen and command leadership team members work effectively with their commands. Workshops provide resource avenues for helping families through crisis and daily living. Open to Ombudsmen, COs, XOs, Chaplains, CMCs, COBs, and their spouses.
Navy Ombudsman Advanced Training
This training provides guidance, additional resources, and training by subject matter experts on various topics to assist with the varied challenges of commands and family members. Both new and experienced Ombudsmen are encouraged to attend.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- What is the Ombudsman Program?
It is a command operated program intended to improve communication between the command and a sailor's family members. Most importantly, it keeps members informed about command policy and the command aware of family concerns. A major function of the Ombudsman is providing information and referral services to the families.
- How do I become an Ombudsman?
You can apply for this position when the command advertises for volunteers or 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 can include the Command Master Chief, Executive Officer, current Ombudsman, and/ or other command members, as directed, may assist the CO.
- What training is provided to the Ombudsman?
Ombudsman, with command support, receive Ombudsman Basic Training (OBT). OBT is a detailed course that provides required knowledge and skill development necessary to perform effectively as the Command Ombudsman. Ombudsman continues their education via additional local training.
- Is financial support available to Ombudsman?
The command, budget permitting, may provide supplies, equipment, and reimbursement for such expenses as childcare and mileage.
- Will being an Ombudsman help further my spouse's Navy career?
One of the best tools is the Navy Family Ombudsman Program Manual. The command is required to provide one to the Ombudsman. If they do not have one in stock, they can contact their supporting Fleet and Family Support Center to obtain one.