In 1970, Admiral E.R. Zumwalt, Jr. then Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), created the Navy Family Ombudsman Program to improve communication between commands and the families of Sailors who served in them.
In 2006, Admiral Michael G. Mullen, CNO, re-emphasized the importance of the program and signed an updated instruction, highlighting the requirement that all Navy families have access to a Navy Family Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman is a volunteer, appointed by the commanding officer, to serve as an information link between command leadership and Navy families. Ombudsmen are trained to disseminate information both up and down the chain of command, including official Department of the Navy and command information, command climate issues, local quality of life (QOL) improvement opportunities, and “good deals” around the community.
They also provide resource referrals when needed. They are instrumental in resolving family issues before the issues require extensive command attention. The command ombudsman program is shaped largely by the commanding officer’s perceived needs of his/her command. The command ombudsman is appointed by and works under the guidance of the commanding officer who determines the priorities of the program, the roles and relationships of those involved in it, and the type and level of support it will receive.