One of the most challenging issues for a military family is to explain how the service works to a spouse, or members of the Servicemembers Family. The Military, in particular the Navy has encountered this over the years, and they started a program to assist. Based on the U.S. Marine Corps L.I.N.K.S. program, and also based on the Army?s program AFTB system, it is called Navy Spouse COMPASS, and it is a program that works to help Spouses of Servicemembers receive assistance, support and information so they can deal with all the details of being a US Navy Spouse. It is a program of mentoring, one on one support, and group meetings that help give a person who is married to a member of the Navy assistance, information and overall encouragement, as well as practical help and assistance.
It is a program that is voluntary, and designed to be a help and support for those that would like to know more about the Navy, and military life. It offers different group classes on how different things work in the US Navy. Taught by volunteers, and based at the local installation level, the program offers a lot of structure and support to help understand what the Navy is all about. The programs are held on three days in a row as a rule, for an average of four hours. It is available to spouses that are married to members of the US Navy, US Marine Corps, or the US Coast Guard. It is sponsored directly by the US Navy Family line Naval services organization that serves the 3 services, US Navy, US Coast Guard, and US Marine Corps. It directly mentors and supervises the COMPASS program, and helps train Spouses that have graduated from the program to serve as Trainers and sponsors for other classes of COMPASS Spouses. The main thrust of the program in addition to support and encouragement is to gently take the spouse through a tour and show the basics of rank/rate structures, services and benefits, pay, allotments, entitlements, benefits, medical services, and a host of other information. The program is based on a 12 hours instructional period, and attendees are matched one on one with other spouses that have been involved and trained as sponsors for the program. By setting up local peer groups spouse have a warm and encouraging place to share and gain insights.
The program is considered a priority by many commands, because it gives support both to the Spouses but also gives comfort and morale boosting support to military Servicemembers, who are often away from home on deployment or serving on duty, knowing that their wives or spouses are being given assistance, encouragement, and other support.