Here is your basic guide to the Navy’s Ombudsman program!
Read what it is, how to find your Ombudsman, how to become one yourself, and more.
What is the Ombudsman Program?
The Ombudsman program is a Navy command program intended to improve mission readiness by providing information necessary to meet the challenges of a military lifestyle.
What do they do?
Ombudsman work with the Commanding Officer (CO) to provide a better understanding of the needs of the unit’s families.
The Ombudsman advocates for the needs of the unit families, and provides support and important communication between families and the unit leadership.
The CO determines the priorities of the program, the roles and relationships of its participants, and the types and levels of support it receives.
The Ombudsman is most often known for communicating information and providing support to families and spouses during deployments. (This is all done while maintaining OPSEC by communicating directly with spouses.)
The Ombudsman is in a unique position to know exactly what families and spouses need. They are almost always spouses themselves!
The Ombudsman position is filled by a volunteer that can meet the requirements for their respective titles, and is chosen by the CO.
How do I find my Ombudsman?
There are a few ways to go about finding your Ombudsman. All you need to know is your base location and the unit name/number.
Go to the website for your current base station. You can use the search bar and type in “Ombudsman”, or try navigating the website for a list of contact information for the base.
Another search term you can use is “FFSP” (Fleet and Family Support Program), which will have all of the information you need to get connected with your Ombudsman.
You can also try searching on Facebook, where there is usually a group created by the Ombudsman for your unit or area.
Who can be an Ombudsman?
When being considered as a unit Ombudsman, there are three main requirements.
One, you must be the spouse of a service member who is in the specific unit or area you want to volunteer in.
Two, you must complete the Ombudsman Basic Training (OBT), which is the first level of training required of every Ombudsman. You are also required to complete Advanced Training, which goes further into depth on important topics you may face.
Three, be willing and able to adhere to the responsibilities of an Ombudsman, such as maintaining confidentiality, serving as a source during emergencies, and reaching out to the families in their unit.
Who can be an Ombudsman Coordinator?
Ombudsman Coordinators are staff members of the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC). They serve as an adviser/consultant to local ombudsmen.
The three main requirements are as follows:
One, facilitate, coordinate, and/or present the Ombudsman Basic Training (OBT) in their area of responsibility.
Two, provide additional support, resources, and keep a roster of the Ombudsman in their area of responsibility.
Three, be willing and able to adhere to their responsibilities, such as maintaining confidentiality and directing families to their Ombudsman.
The main difference between an Ombudsman and a Coordinator? The Coordinator works for the FFSP, and helps the Ombudsman fulfill their roles.
How do I become an Ombudsman?
Are you interested in becoming an Ombudsman?
You will need to contact your Ombudsman, Ombudsman Coordinator, or Unit Commander. They will direct you to a point of contact for completing the necessary training needed to become an Ombudsman.
This website contains TONS of information directly from the Navy that goes even more into depth about this program.
If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I’ll do what I can to point you in the right direction.