Why the word “Ombudsman?”
"Ombudsman" is a Swedish term dating back to the 1800’s. It means a person who has an ear to the people. It is used world-wide to designate impartial, confidential and independent offices that receive inquiries and concerns from groups of people, and work to achieve fair solutions.
Many private companies, universities, non-profit organizations and government agencies also have an ombudsman (or an ombuds office) to serve internal employees, and managers and/or other constituencies. These ombudsman roles are structured to function independently, by reporting to the CEO or board of directors and do not serve any other role in the organization. Since the 1960s, the profession has grown in the United States, and Canada, particularly in corporations, universities and government agencies.
The term ombudsman is used to communicate to the widest possible community and is not intended to discourage others from using alternative forms of this word, such as ombudsperson or ombuds. (Source: Wikipedia)
The Coast Guard’s philosophy of developing healthy self-reliant families is epitomized through the Coast Guard Ombudsman Program. Admiral Gracey created the Coast Guard Ombudsman Program in 1986 with the establishment of the Coast Guard Family Representative Program.
The Coast Guard Ombudsman Program is a Coast Guard wide program established to serve as a link between commands and families that help to ensure Coast Guard families have the information necessary to meet the challenges of a military lifestyle. The ombudsman program assists commanding officers/officers-in-charge (CO/OIC) to have a better understanding of the welfare of the command/unit’s families and better prepare families to meet emergency situations.
The Commandant will appoint, in writing, one or more ombudsmen-at-large to represent all unit ombudsmen and report on active duty and reserve family concerns. The ombudsman-at-large is responsible for advising the Commandant on matters affecting Coast Guardsmen and their families. The Ombudsmen-at-Large are tasked by the Commandant to improve family readiness by advising him and the MCPOCG on matters affecting Coast Guardsmen and their families. As they travel throughout the Coast Guard, they meet with Coast Guard leadership, HSWL RP staff, ombudsmen, family members and Coast Guardsmen. They attend meetings and conferences to gain a better understanding of matters affecting our families and ombudsmen. When they travel, they often hold focus groups composed of ombudsmen and spouses to learn about current issues and concerns.
Ombudsman Program Brochure