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Author Topic: Navy marine Corp Mars ends September 30 2015  (Read 124783 times)
W6EM
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« Reply #90 on: June 04, 2015, 09:38:12 AM »

FEMA??  I would rather have a military person in the mix than a govt. civilian employee.
Art
Art

I believe I'm correct, but each of the MARS programs used to be headed by civilian employees of each of the branches.  Lately, I think at least some, if not all, are contractors.

Army for a long time only had one civil service employee as Director.  But, they had several Akima contractors working for the Director.  No active duty military.  Not for many years.

At least FEMA's leader is a ham.  The last time I checked anyway.


Lee
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AA4PB
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« Reply #91 on: June 04, 2015, 11:09:12 AM »

FEMA??  I would rather have a military person in the mix than a govt. civilian employee.
Art

Haven't the MARS services been using government civilian employees and contractor employees in many of the leadership positions for some years now?
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
W3JKS
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« Reply #92 on: June 04, 2015, 12:53:26 PM »

FEMA??  I would rather have a military person in the mix than a govt. civilian employee.
Art

Haven't the MARS services been using government civilian employees and contractor employees in many of the leadership positions for some years now?


Yes.  A lot of them are/were retired military in fact.
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W6EM
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« Reply #93 on: June 04, 2015, 07:38:28 PM »

FEMA??  I would rather have a military person in the mix than a govt. civilian employee.
Art

Haven't the MARS services been using government civilian employees and contractor employees in many of the leadership positions for some years now?

I think the plural use of contractor employees is or was characteristic of only Army MARS.  The value-added of a retired military officer as MARS Director works if, and only if, he or she was involved directly in the MARS program while on active duty.  Which leads me back to what I said:  It's been many years since any active duty personnel above junior enlisted have been involved with MARS.
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WD8DBY
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« Reply #94 on: June 04, 2015, 08:32:53 PM »

I think the plural use of contractor employees is or was characteristic of only Army MARS.  The value-added of a retired military officer as MARS Director works if, and only if, he or she was involved directly in the MARS program while on active duty.  Which leads me back to what I said:  It's been many years since any active duty personnel above junior enlisted have been involved with MARS.

[/quote]

Lee,

I was involved with MARS as a Signal Company Commander, Signal Battalion Commander, Signal Brigade S3, and Army Component Command G6. 

I challenge you to shift your thinking about why MARS exists.  MARS is not an entity unto itself; the MARS radio networks are a subset of the larger DOD Global High Frequency Enterprise Network.  MARS is a DOD/Service sponsored program that organizes volunteer amateur radio operators into an auxiliary force to support the military.  MARS exists to support the Department of Defense and the Services with contingency communications support; provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief in support of Combatant Commands; provide Defense Support of Civil Authorities when requested and approved; and to provide morale and welfare support to deployed DOD forces. 

When I talk to military units about the MARS program I ask them to tell me how MARS can support their Soldiers and their unit's mission.  The MARS organization of today is evolving in order to stay relevant to the Department of Defense and the Services.

Thank you for your continued interest in the DOD MARS program!

Paul English
Army MARS Program Manager
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W6EM
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« Reply #95 on: June 05, 2015, 06:55:55 PM »

There indeed are still useful purposes for what is now MARS.  I certainly didn’t say that there weren’t.  Assisting SHARES and what AFMARS does for in-flight crews in making patches are certainly worthwhile from my limited perspective.

On the other hand, the Navy and the Marine Corps apparently didn’t think much of MARS’ new or continued missions.  Or, at least not enough to justify one FTE position for a MARS Director/Manager.  I guess that says that your new role(s) aren’t relevant for them.

Interesting that you still include the morale side of MARS as a purpose, when it is all but too obvious that there is no longer a need for message traffic to or from deployed service personnel.  Or, phone patches to and from them since AT&T parks satellite telephone trailers all over in the Middle East.  And, the Internet is available in the field along with such things as Skype and Magic Jack IP telephones.  I’m a little confused as to just how we hams can go about boosting morale of our troops when these direct connections are widely available around the world.  I’m familiar as a family member was deployed on several different occasions.  I guess I would challenge you to tell us all just how MARS today supports the morale of those who serve and their families.

I understand that you’ve promised that NMC MARS members will be welcomed in your branch on an equal basis.  But, so far, NMC MARS hasn’t received much in the way of recognition for its past achievements.  With its folding into other branches, much of its history will be soon chucked or disregarded.  But, not forgotten by its present or former MARS members or those beneficiaries of its efforts.   

My primary interest in all of this is to seek deserved recognition for present and former members for the years of morale and welfare support that all branches of MARS provided to those who served.  Perhaps, if only as a museum-piece.  Frankly, with primarily DoD directed activities and support roles to other government subdivisions, it should rightfully drop its individual branch identity and perhaps be renamed as some form of defense auxiliary communications organization.  Actually, some of what you describe is a tad reminiscent of what were some old Civil Defense activities.  As someone else suggested, your new roles might more closely align with FEMA or Homeland Security  rather than with DoD.

 
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NA4IT
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« Reply #96 on: June 06, 2015, 05:15:23 AM »

As for leadership of MARS services, I felt the Chiefs should be hams. Army MARS Chief (when I was in) was a ham less than 50% of time. Experience leads to better leadership.
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WD8DBY
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« Reply #97 on: June 06, 2015, 06:41:21 AM »

I guess I would challenge you to tell us all just how MARS today supports the morale of those who serve and their families.


Lee,

The morale piece is not a large part of what MARS does today and is primarily handled through the Joint Phone Patch net led by AF MARS and supported by Army MARS stations since Oct 2014.  Some recent examples are Christmas the last two years, morale phone patches supported deployed Coast Guard personnel to call their families.  On a daily basis the Joint Patch net runs MWR calls for DOD aircraft.  While it is not a large part of what MARS does, we still do provide MWR support.

Paul

   
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N4WWL
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« Reply #98 on: June 06, 2015, 02:51:39 PM »

There appears to be some lingering confusion about exactly what the MARS mission is.  As described in DoD Instruction 4650.02, MARS is to provide "contingency radio communications support to U.S. Government operations."  This includes three specific taskings:

1) MARS shall provide contingency radio communications support to the DoD Components;
2) MARS shall provide contingency radio communications support to civil authorities at all levels, in fulfillment of DoD responsibilities under DoDD 5111.13; and
3) MARS shall provide health, morale, and welfare radio communications support to military members, civilian employees and contractors of DoD Components, and civil agency employees and contractors, when in remote or isolated areas, in contingencies or whenever appropriate.

MARS support for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HA/DR) operations in support of Combatant Commands is not an explicitly identified mission area in DoDI 4650.02 and I am unaware of any official document of equivalent standing to this DoD Issuance that states this explicitly.  However, MARS can certainly provide auxiliary communications capabilities to support ongoing DoD/military operations in response to a HA/DR event as part of the broader task of providing support to the DoD Components (which includes the Combatant Commands).  Task 1, above, is quite broad and could include many types of activities in addition to HA/DR.

Likewise, the provision of phone patches to DoD aircraft is not just an MWR activity under task 3 above, but is also done in fulfillment of task 1 above.  In fact, most phone patches involve official business rather than MWR requests.  These communications primarily support operational Air Force and other military missions.

The MARS mission of supporting civil authorities at all levels, reflected in task 2 above, is to be done in accordance with DoD guidance regarding Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA).  In other words, MARS DSCA support is provided as part of DoD's support to civil agencies, in accordance with the authorities provided to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense.  As I read DoDI 4650.02, it does not authorize MARS to provide support to civil agencies independent of DoD's DSCA activities.

Unfortunately, what I would consider to be a lack of clarity in certain areas of DoDI 4650.02 has allowed for a degree of elasticity to creep into discussions of the MARS mission.  While the applicability of these missions in today's environment can be debated, as far as I know DoDI 4650.02 provides the only authoritative, official, high-level description of the mission and role of MARS. 

I have no special insights into how DoDI 4650.02 was originally crafted, and I am also not a lawyer, so these represent my personal views.  But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express...


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N4JQQ
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« Reply #99 on: July 02, 2015, 06:29:12 PM »

Army MARS did the Navy no favors.  I still can't understand why an Army MARS employee was so anxious to tell the ARRL why Navy MARS went away.  They sounded almost happy.  And then the admonishment to members about actions by Navy MARS that the Army needed to be careful about.  So much dishonorable behavior.  You can it sour grapes but I think there are a lot of folks who will agree with me. 
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W6EM
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« Reply #100 on: July 03, 2015, 06:13:42 PM »

.....  I still can't understand why an Army MARS employee was so anxious to tell the ARRL why Navy MARS went away.  .......... 
Perhaps you might get an answer if he had the guts to say who he is.  I think he's one of the commenters on this thread. 
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NT0A
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« Reply #101 on: July 03, 2015, 08:45:09 PM »

Perhaps you might get an answer if he had the guts to say who he is.  I think he's one of the commenters on this thread. 

Doubtful. Really doubtful. None of the folks whom I have met that work in the head shed of Army MARS would publically malign the Navy-Marine Corps program. I doubt seriously that the ARRL item came from someone who thought he or she would be quoted.

73s de Bob NT0A now an AFMARS transferee from Navy-Marine Corps MARS
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W1MSG
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« Reply #102 on: July 05, 2015, 02:59:47 AM »

As soon as they can find another cushy do nothing GS job for COL (r) Klinefelter you can expect to see Army MARS disband as well.
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N3ZH
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« Reply #103 on: July 13, 2015, 11:28:38 AM »

Well, I am officially an Air Force Mars member.

As expected, I do not like it very much, but I will give it one year and see how it goes.

I spend more hours on Navy Marine Corp Mars nets than Air Force nets. I will be on Navy Marine Corp nets  until someone turns off the lights and locks the door.


 
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NT0A
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« Reply #104 on: July 13, 2015, 12:28:40 PM »

Well, I am officially an Air Force Mars member. As expected, I do not like it very much, but I will give it one year and see how it goes.

Air Force MARS is a different animal. Keep an open mind and make sure you get the minimum participation on AFMARS traffic nets. Looks like there is a push on for that.

73s de Bob NT0A
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