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Army MARS Chief's 1st Annual Report:

Bill Sexton (N1IN) on March 26, 2013
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Winding up his first year in command of Army MARS, Chief Stephen Klinefelter thanked the members for “your efforts and sacrifice” and cited their accomplishments including preparedness and response during hurricane Sandy, establishment of the new National Operations Net, and a new cross-border relationship with Canada’s equivalent organization of hams.

Klinefelter reported significant changes in headquarters personnel, long-range planning for an adding a gateway station on the East Coast and enlarging the antenna resources at the Fort Huachuca MARS station. He also outlined the first step in a possible program for establishing MARS club stations in connection with Junior ROTC units.

The message on “The State of Army MARS” is dated March 21, just three weeks short= of Klinefelter’s first anniversary as Chief.

Excerpts from the 1,500-word message:

It is my pleasure to announce that the overall state of the Army MARS program is strong. I want to start by offering my heart-felt “thank you” to you - the volunteers who make Army MARS what it is today. Without your continuing efforts, the Army MARS program would not exist - leaving a significant gap in the nation’s contingency communications plan.

Your efforts and sacrifice do not go un-noticed. On several occasions, I’ve had the opportunity to share some of your significant contributions with the NETCOM Commanding General, Major General [Alan] Lynn including your preparedness and response during the recent super-storm Sandy as well as the significant participation in the multi-agency exercise called RADAR-2.

General Lynn understands the value and benefit of HF radio from his time spent as the Signal Officer with the United States Pacific Command. Keep up the good work and keep sending in your lessons learned so we all can benefit from the good work being done throughout Army MARS.

I am very excited about the success of the national W0O net This net is spear-headed by Bob Mims, AAA1RD and he has developed a proficient pool = of Major Relay Stations for the east, central, and west areas.

There is a lot happening with Army MARS at headquarters. We successfully hired a full-time Program Officer, Paul English, who is based out of central Texas. I have charged Paul with assisting me in handling the day-to-day MARS policy issues and work in conjunction with David McGinnis who handles the day-to-day operational issues. We are also in the process of changing out the MARS Gateway contracting officer representative. [NETCOM’s] Eddie Collins, who is a Ham, is assuming this role; Eddie brings extensive background in RF transmission systems and spectrum management.

We are investigating the possibility of expanding the MARS Gateway antenna farm here at Fort Huachuca. The current antenna farm used by the gateway is too small given the number of antenna systems we have in place and operational.

Another significant initiative I am pursuing is the re-establishment of an eastern gateway. Given the new emphasis on our Defense Support to Civil Authorities, I am looking at possible locations and organizations that would be willing to establish and operate an eastern gateway.

We have been in discussion with the Canadian Forces Affiliate Radio System leadership and with the outstanding work of both the US and Canadian governments, we now have approved HF frequencies available to conduct US-Canadian HF radio training = and exercises.

Another initiative I am very excited about is our pilot program with the local Buena High School Junior ROTC program here at Sierra Vista, AZ. I want this pilot program be the model that we can then implement at other high schools across the country.

We recently renewed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Transportation Security Administration. TSA understands the capability Army MARS provides and regularly exercises this capability. We are in the process of reviewing the other Memorandums of Understanding that are in place with supported agencies.

I have been asked the question, “Will sequestration have any effect on Army MARS?” The only effect has been that we can’t travel and that Paul, Eddie, and I will be taking some unpaid time off throughout = the year. We don’t expect any other effects near-term or long-term.

I am continuing to hear a number of concerns from the Region and State leadership about the length of time it is taking to process applications for membership, issuing licenses and ID cards. My goal is to significantly improve administrative processing time for all actions.

If you have other ideas or recommendations to strengthen the program, I encourage you to bring those through your state and region leadership for consideration at national headquarters.

In closing, it is my pleasure to serve as your Chief. I hope this update on the “State of Army MARS” is informative and shows you that we are continuing to grow and strengthen the overall Army MARS program. Again, I thank you for what you continue to do through your volunteer efforts. You, the individual Army MARS member are the strength of the program. We are “Proud, Professional, and Ready” because of your efforts.

Stephen Klinefelter


Member Comments:
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Army MARS Chief's 1st Annual Report:  
by W6EM on March 30, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Very well said. Chief Klinefelter knows how to be an effective leader.
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