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Office of Work-Life Programs : Ombudsman Program - Selecting an Ombudsman

Selecting an ombudsman is perhaps the single most important decision that a commanding officer will make about the ombudsman program. The ombudsman is an important resource to the command, and this selection process is an opportunity for you to choose those individuals who will best represent you and serve the command’s families. The time and effort put into selecting an ombudsman will have great benefits in the long run.

An ombudsman is the spouse of an active duty or reserve member of the command, enlisted or officer. This requirement can be waived if, after a diligent search, no appropriate spouse volunteer is available. [Waiver Request] The appointed ombudsman should not be the spouse of the command cadre. The support and involvement of senior spouses is an invaluable asset to the ombudsman program. [Leadership Spouses Role]

Personal Qualities and Experience
The ombudsman needs to be viewed by the command families as accessible, approachable, and functional. An ombudsman with several years of Coast Guard life experience will acclimate more easily and have greater credibility. For a list of desired qualities to consider when selecting an ombudsman, see Qualities of an Ombudsman.

No matter which recruitment method you use, you must have a compelling message. It is essential to express the significant role the ombudsman fulfills for the command as well as emphasize the command’s support of the program. Recruitment strategies include: word of mouth or announcements within the command, on the command website or at spouse meetings.

Position Application
Application to Volunteer as a Coast Guard Ombudsman (defense.gov), CG Form 6078 is required from all interested candidates and must be forwarded to the HSWL RP Ombudsman Coordinator for a Family Advocacy Central Registry Check. Ombudsmen should not be appointed before this application is completed.

Position Description
A position description [Position Description] provides guidelines on the duties of the position and performance expectations and should be shared with the applicant at the interview. Commanding officers should tailor the ombudsman responsibilities to fit the specific needs of their command.

Number of Ombudsmen
Commanding Officers may appoint as many command ombudsmen as they deem necessary. If two candidates apply and meet qualifications the CO may choose to have at least two ombudsmen to ensure accessibility, and to share and allocate responsibilities.

Multiple commands sharing one ombudsman
Area, District, Sector, Base, and CG Academy are required to appoint an ombudsman. Small commands having few family members, may arrange with one or more other commands to share the ombudsman’s services. Such agreements will be specified in the appointment letter and should include any agreed upon provisions for support of the combined Ombudsman Program. Although sharing a single ombudsman, an appointment letter specifying the unit’s reportable issues, the unit POC and contact information will be issued to the ombudsman from EACH unit sharing services. A waiver is not required for the other commands, if the ombudsman did not require a waiver for the original command.

Interview Process
The interview should be objective and structured, and all information should be documented. The selecting official may interview the candidate alone or may ask another member of the Command Cadre (command master chief (CMC), executive officer (XO), current ombudsman, etc.) to assist in the selection process.

Interview Questions
Interview questions should focus on the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the desired duties. All candidates should be asked the same questions in the same order and format. The questions should be open-ended and encourage the candidate to talk. [Interview Questions]