It’s a tough job! Why the Army Materiel Command has an Ombudsman to do it

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - A typical day inside Redstone Arsenal's sprawling Army Materiel Command Headquarters building finds Jesse Barber hard at work. He is the Ombudsman. When he tells people that, they react. "They scratch their head and say, what does an ombudsman do?" says Jesse.

According to thefreedictionary.com, an ombudsman is a person employed by an institution to investigate and attempt to mediate and resolve complaints against it. Jesse Barber has his own definition. "In the simplest terms I am an advocate, I am a facilitator, I help to make things happen," says Jesse.

Jesse Barber is Ombudsman at Army Materiel Command Headquarters on Redstone Arsenal. (Photo: WHNT News 19)

Jesse Barber is Ombudsman at Army Materiel Command Headquarters on Redstone Arsenal. (Photo: WHNT News 19)

What Jesse does sounds simple, but the reality is what he does is complex, considering he's an advocate for civilian industry that works with AMC.  If a company has a problem or complaint, it calls the Ombudsman, Jesse Barber.

"By coming to me, I can pull the two parties together, sit down as a neutral third-party and hear the issue from both perspectives and offer alternatives," he explained.

Most war fighters probably don't know what an ombudsman is or does. That's okay, as long as the ombudsman is doing the job right. "Because if we can get our ideas linked up with industry's ideas, you can get a lot of capability out there to the war fighter in record time," Barber said.

The AMC Ombudsman is one crucial ingredient in making sure the command gets the job done, and of course that leads back to Jesse Barber.  We asked what he considers getting the job done.

"When both parties walk away, and they can shake hands and they can smile at each other. I feel good about that day," Barber said.