History of the Navy Family Ombudsman Program
The Navy Family Ombudsman Program enables service members to be more focused and productive at work because their families have a safety net. The Navy’s philosophy of developing healthy, self-reliant families is epitomized through the Navy Family Ombudsman Program. The ombudsman concept originated in Scandinavian countries, where they investigated citizens’ complaints against the government or its functionaries. Today, the concept is widely used in the fields of government, business, and healthcare.
On September 14, 1970, Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., Chief of Naval Operations, established the Navy Family Ombudsman Program when he issued Z-Gram 24. It emphasized the importance of Navy spouses and established a procedure that gave spouses the opportunity to present complaints, viewpoints, and suggestions to the commanding officer. In doing so, he acknowledged the vital role spouses play as members of the Navy team and provided them with what he described as an “official representative to express their view to commanding officers and base commanders.”
In 2007, CNO Adm. Michael G. Mullen re-emphasized the importance of the program, signing an updated instruction and highlighting the requirement that all Navy families have access to a Navy Family Ombudsman.