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Author Topic: MARS: House Armed Services Committee "Urges" MARS Coordination  (Read 58435 times)
KG4RUL
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« on: May 31, 2012, 12:17:40 PM »

On May 18, the US House of Representatives approved HR 4310, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. This bill authorizes appropriations for military activities and prescribes military personnel strengths for Fiscal Year 2013. When the House Armed Services Committee sent the bill to the House, it included language in support of the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) and called for the three MARS branches -- Army, Air Force and Navy/Marine Corps -- to be brought under one umbrella.  http://www.arrl.org/news/house-armed-services-committee-urges-mars-coordination

FINALLY!  This was the main reason that I dropped out of Army MARS.  I saw so much waste in the form of duplicated chains of command that I doubted the long-term viability of the MARS concept.
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W6EM
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2012, 07:17:32 PM »

Perhaps this consolidation will be of benefit.  I'd like to hope that the leaders will be career or reserve military or civil service federal employees.  Not contractors as had been the case with Army MARS.

Not sure if all now have the same missions.  I'm led to believe, from what I've read, that AF and Navy still do phone patches for service personnel, unlike Army.  Perhaps greater participation in SHARES as well.

73,

Lee
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N9KWW
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2012, 06:00:20 AM »

I hope this will get the Army MARS program to wake up and cooperate with the Navy and AF programs. For years the AF and Navy MARS programs have had a very good relationship and interoperation.  Both the AF and Navy mars have had many joint exercises and routinely check into each other’s nets. ALE is just one example of a joint endeavor. This one MARS program concept should have been in effect years ago, but like most things autocracy of some  programs makes it hard to have a joint beneficial program. The Army has always been the lone wolf in any attempt to join the different services together.   
   Now the only item left if funding, if they provide a little funding for support MARS will once again be a contender for radio services.
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NA4IT
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2012, 04:29:57 AM »

Would be nice if they would just get the politics out of Army MARS. I used to be an active member, but the political posturing by some do gooder members caused me to hang it up. Saw a very good state director get canned over nothing more than politics. The highers up didn't like the fact he was trying to make Army MARS valid. He did a lot of deployment exercises, and was involved in a lot of promotions.

Sometimes it just takes "an act of congress" to get things fixed...
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K9CTB
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2012, 05:58:42 PM »

Well ... It should be taken as a severe scolding by Congress.  Simple as that imho.  The 3 services have had more than enough time to come up with a plan for interoperability.  I mean, that *was* the buzzword for at least a few years before we totally dropped the ball.  It looks to me like the 3 services' leadership chose to hang on to their respective "ricebowls" as long as possible.  Trouble is, the old mission went away a long time ago.  It has even been discussed here.  Service men and women now have private communications systems on their persons in the form of cell phones, and additionally, they have internet connectivity from their bases.  The only viable direction for MARS to continue toward is that of ECOM federal, state and/or local on-scene command support during disasters.  The only way MARS will be of any use to these agencies is if they are a coordinated, connected and uniformly-trained group of operators.  On the DOD level, policy-makers could free up a few (very few) federal dollars to make the reutilization/re-issue of government property a reality for MARS members again, as a sort of "carrot" for going to the trouble of actually achieving interoperability.  It's not as if property has to be purchased -- it's already been paid for once.  All MARS would need is the administrative support for actually handling the transfer of re-utilized equipment.  Pipe dream, I know, but so too is the idea of true interoperability within and between the MARS services.  I mean, there is evidence of AREA DIRECTORS who choose to implement their own individual communications policies and protocols, rather than follow existing policy promulgated by their respective MARS Chief!!  If there is no interoperability across state lines in the same MARS service, how can we ever hope to achieve interoperability between the services themselves?  Endeavor to prove me wrong - I wish I was!

73,
K9CTB
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N9KWW
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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2012, 07:10:31 PM »

I can’t speak for others, however here in Wisconsin we have a good start at interoperations. The NMC and AF Mars program have a very good working relationship.  We cross net and check into each other’s nets. We have a start, some are more than happy to interface and others not so much.
   What we need in a new mind set, one that encourages cross service operations. This has to come down from the top, and the top leadership has to make this the new SOP.
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KB6HOH
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2012, 12:41:34 PM »

Wow!

        This is a switch regarding Interoperability. Back in the 1990's when I was a State Director here in Northern California the Interoperability program was started. We had a very good working relationship with AF MARS.
NavMarCorp MARS members, at-least in this area were a real pain in the KAZOO. They did not want any part of it. When we finally broke down those Barriers we were able to check into their Nets but still had to fight to be able to handle Traffic. Some of those NCS's would go as far as not allowing us to take Traffic for direct Delivery and giving it to a Navy station to Mail it. Bringing Traffic into their Nets was OK as long as they did not just mail it.
We had a open door policy allowing any Navy or AF MARS stations in on any of our Nets as well as our Packet system and BBS's. In fact I ran a MsysBBS station at the former Hamilton Air Force Base in Novato that was also Hardwired to the Navy MsysBBS NNN0VNV as well as having a Port connected to Radio on the Air Force MARS Packet system which worked out very nicely. I argued for the longest time MARS needed to be under 1 umbrella but that fell on deaf ears as well. Lets hope all 3 MARS Services pull together before I leave this Planet! I certainly do miss those days. I spent many a Day and Night volunteering at he San Francisco Presidio Army MARS Station and was still there even after they officially closed the Base we still had operations running for a short while. It was a great experience!

                                   73 de Steve KB6HOH
                               Formerly AAA9CN/AAV9EB
          Northern California Army MARS Member and State Director
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N9KWW
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2012, 06:40:43 AM »

If MARS is to survive and prosper we need to make two changes. First we must join into a consolidated MARS program. A single entity with a single purpose and  total integration. This will not be easy, as each program has funding they will want to keep within their respective programs. Also they have had autonomy they will not want to give up. While these small items make each program function with a certain amount of unit cohesiveness, it also segregates  each from the others. This makes getting the job done difficult. Each service has mostly members from that service, Navy folks will tend to join Navy MARS, as Air Force will tend to join AF MARS. We can maintain tis identity but still become one program. A MARS program with
subdivisions, we would all me MSRS but still maintain identity  with our respective service.
    Second we must end this petty rivalry, while this appears only to be one part and in some areas one group seems to stand out whenever it comes to joint operations. The Army MARS program seems to go out on its own and with the exception on Armed Forces day, rarely  participates in joint ops with the AF and Navy MARS programs. A prime example of this is the A.L.E. Program where the Navy and Air Force both participate and share resources, the Army has chosen NOT to share its resources nor officially participate. Army members may participate but without Army support.  I cannot speak for other states, however in my conversations with other MARS members the trend appears to be  Navy/Air Force (AF) programs sharing joint operations.
   I hope this gets the chief’s attention and they all sit down bury the hatchet and fully join into MARS and fully participate in joint programs and operations.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2012, 09:37:06 AM »

If MARS is to survive and prosper we need to make two changes. First we must join into a consolidated MARS program. A single entity with a single purpose and  total integration. This will not be easy, as each program has funding they will want to keep within their respective programs. Also they have had autonomy they will not want to give up. While these small items make each program function with a certain amount of unit cohesiveness, it also segregates  each from the others. This makes getting the job done difficult. Each service has mostly members from that service, Navy folks will tend to join Navy MARS, as Air Force will tend to join AF MARS. We can maintain tis identity but still become one program. A MARS program with
subdivisions, we would all me MSRS but still maintain identity  with our respective service.
    Second we must end this petty rivalry, while this appears only to be one part and in some areas one group seems to stand out whenever it comes to joint operations. The Army MARS program seems to go out on its own and with the exception on Armed Forces day, rarely  participates in joint ops with the AF and Navy MARS programs. A prime example of this is the A.L.E. Program where the Navy and Air Force both participate and share resources, the Army has chosen NOT to share its resources nor officially participate. Army members may participate but without Army support.  I cannot speak for other states, however in my conversations with other MARS members the trend appears to be  Navy/Air Force (AF) programs sharing joint operations.
   I hope this gets the chief’s attention and they all sit down bury the hatchet and fully join into MARS and fully participate in joint programs and operations.


Bravo...  I totally agree on all but one point...  One MARS...  Not three...  Not three subdivisions, but one MARS...  That is in my opinion the ONLY way the bickering will end.  Also unified funding controlled from a single entity, sharing of resources, etc.  We are lucky in R10, most services get along, but that is at the operator levels...  I imagine that there are issues between upper management...

73's
Dave
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Dave
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W1MSG
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« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2012, 10:15:20 PM »

They want to consolidate to save money, you can bet the budget will be less than that of one of the MARS programs for a combined program. This could also be the beginning of the end, it will be much easier to write out one organization than three in the future. I started to get involved in Army MARS while I was still on active duty, but quickly learned that the folks in Army MARS have no clue, they use antiquated procedures, they seem to think they are some kind of Emergency Response group for the Military, and most are ledgends in their own minds. The MARS program was there to allow soldiers to contact home from foreign locations, I used it once when i was stationed in Korea in 1979, it was a morale tool. In todays Military it has no use, with satellite internet, cell phones etc etc its just not needed. I retired last year after 32 years and I was able to adapt and change as the Military did, too bad MARS is stuck in the past and is grasping at straws to try and give themselves some type of validity with in the military.

Just my 2 cents worth, if its even worth that.

Craig
MSG, USA Retired
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