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Army MARS Invitation to Air Force, Navy:

Bill Sexton (N1IN) on September 9, 2013
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Fort Huachuca, Arizona
ARMARS HQ has invited the Chiefs of Air Force and Navy-Marine Corps MARS to join in a National Communications Exercise that will measure the auxiliary force's capabilities in the event that normal communications are disrupted "throughout North America.

"The test will run an arduous 48 continuous hours Nov. 3-5 and will be closely monitored by a Joint Command (Army-Air Force-Navy-Marine Corps) responsible to the Defense Department for homeland security.

This exercise culminates a year-long series of escalating preparations by Army MARS for responding to complex emergencies -- a natural phenomenon or terrorist attack-that might render unusable the "Internet, long distance telephone, and national news and media networks" across the U.S.Simultaneously with dispatch of the invitation for the other branches to participate, Army MARS region directors were instructed to begin immediate preparation. They were informed that ARMARS HQ would be capturing statistics on performance.

Bill Sexton

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Army MARS Invitation to Air Force, Navy:  
by KG4RUL on September 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The problem with MARS is the fact that Army MARS has to invite Navy/Marine Corps MARS and Air Force MARS to cone and play. MARS, to continue to survive, needs to bite the bullet and adopt a SINGLE unified command structure. Elimination of duplicated command structures and inter-service rivalries can ONLY enhance the program.
 
Army MARS Invitation to Air Force, Navy:  
by NY7Q on September 10, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I agree with KG4RUL completely.
Mars is just too splintered.
They need to get rid of all the little Hitlers also.
 
RE: Army MARS Invitation to Air Force, Navy:  
by W6EM on September 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I'm a tad curious about how MARS will DELIVER any traffic that was otherwise destined for Internet pathway. Or, telephone pathways. Hand carry?

Will MARS members be issued Irridium Sat Phones so they can contact other Irridium Sat Phones and thus avoid the public network? Will the worldwide DSN (private DoD telephone system) network also be simulated to be unavailable? If not, why not? Same as public system with respect to vulnerabilities.

So, I suess this means, MARS members will trek into key DoD, state and local installations to man radio equipment, not just sit in their homes and pretend to run out to gather newsworthy "drill" disaster scenarios and send them via radio.

Will military units participate via radio? (since they'll be judging)

Seems to me that something like this should have been done as part of the annual crossband test. With the REAL military base stations all manned and participating like it used to be.......

73,

Lee
Formerly, AAT9GN
 
Army MARS Invitation to Air Force, Navy:  
by N1IN on September 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Good question, Lee. Answer no. 1: HF radio is Army MARSí principal vehicle and thereís plenty of HF in the active army. National Guard is adding even more. Answer No. 2 is the APAN (All Partners Access Network) which the Defense Department maintains for global emergency traffic relief traffic.
Maybe you saw the story on MARS members working with amateurs in Nepal in last monthís Pacific Enterprise-13 exercise. 9N1AA using PSK-31 linked up with a MARS member in Afghanistan who relayed to Army MARS region in Germany and there the traffic went onto APAN. Only took minutes.
Thereís a lot of new stuff. It seems to me (22-year member) that Army MARS is about as busy as it has been any time since Vietnam, when MARSgrams flowed by the tens of thousands. (Email finished that mission.) Today, like the rest of the defense establishment, thereís a heavy focus on preparing for major catastrophes on the order of the Japan tsunami and Haiti earthquakeóand manmade mischief like cyber warfare.
Anybody who left Army MARS more than two years ago would hardly recognize the place today.
Only Tuesday (Sept. 10) the three services held their monthly chiefís teleconference to work on future cooperative operations including the next big test (planned) of humanitarian relief operations, a Navy show. The 11 region directors of Army MARS, all volunteer will gather for a three-day workshop in Atlanta next week. Thorough revision of training heads the agenda.
Lots of information about is available on the ARRL news page, even more at www.usarmymars.org and the Army MARS Facebook page. Navy-Marine Corps and Air Force MARS must surely be busy, too. So stay tuned. Itís just this one memberís opinion, but the Defense Department definitely seems to have rediscovered HF radio and the value of amateurs.

 
RE: Army MARS Invitation to Air Force, Navy:  
by W6EM on September 12, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
<Good question, Lee. Answer no. 1: HF radio is Army MARSí principal vehicle and thereís plenty of HF in the active army. National Guard is adding even more.>

So, I guess by your response you will place individual MARS members (since the military isnít directly involved in MARS anymore) in key origination points and key points of delivery. The reason I said that is based upon my Annual Crossband Test experience as of late. Except for the Air Force personnel operating AIR. Will Akima contractor personnel also be participating?


< Answer No. 2 is the APAN (All Partners Access Network) which the Defense Department maintains for global emergency traffic relief traffic.
Maybe you saw the story on MARS members working with amateurs in Nepal in last monthís Pacific Enterprise-13 exercise. 9N1AA using PSK-31 linked up with a MARS member in Afghanistan who relayed to Army MARS region in Germany and there the traffic went onto APAN. Only took minutes.>

Good. I donít need to know the conduits of APAN, so Iím speculating that it is not landline-based as would be DSN and telephone lines. From what Iíve read recently, the old HF SHARES program that MARS used to coordinate is now part of the Office of Emergency Communications of the Department of Homeland Security. By Presidential directive and federal regulation, it now has overall responsibility for the National Communication System, and even over DoD, for federal telecommunications assets during crises. An important stated responsibility of OEC is ensuring interoperability. Do you still include SHARES in your exercises? If not, you ought to as if HF delivery is part of your plan, the SHARES stations arenít just in MARS membersí homes or vehicles. SHARES used to include stations located in major agencies like the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, state disaster organizations and utilities.


<Thereís a lot of new stuff. It seems to me (22-year member) that Army MARS is about as busy as it has been any time since Vietnam, when MARSgrams flowed by the tens of thousands. (Email finished that mission.) Today, like the rest of the defense establishment, thereís a heavy focus on preparing for major catastrophes on the order of the Japan tsunami and Haiti earthquakeóand manmade mischief like cyber warfare.>

Certainly good to hear. The Internet is quite vulnerable. Reliance on it to forward digital traffic is not a good idea. Or, reliance on digital modes only possible via a single-source, expensive modem. Hopefully, from the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, the military now has plans to include means to directly communicate with amateurs via VHF FM commo gear normally used in the field. Digital VFOs/synthesizers on VHF/UHF FM equipment in vehicles and aircraft capable of operation on 2M, or 70cM. Dropping messages in a bottle from a hovering National Guard helicopter to communicate with someone on the ground ought to never have to happen again. (actual example from FCC post-Katrina proceeding testimony).

Iím sure that MARS doesnít do the same things it did when I last belonged for the reasons you mentioned as public networks are now global. I joined Air Force MARS when I was in high school in the 1960ís for two years and later Army MARS in the late Ď70ís and resigned in the early 2000ís. My interest was mainly in helping military personnel and their families stay in touch and in assisting with training of military radio operators via the various net operations. I was the technical manual library custodian for Central CA for a time. Lots of great technical information, but not relevant to todayís memberís interests or the direction of the new program.

Best Wishes and 73,

Lee


 
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