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Is MARS dead?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W1SRR, May 16, 2018.

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  1. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I read the requirements. They are slightly different than Army. It almost makes me want to get involved again. This darn job ruins all the fun.
  2. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    In 1988 I was offered the position of director of Army MARS in the National Capitol Region. I turned it down for a number of reasons but as I recall there was absolutely no classified operations requiring OPSEC associated with MARS. All MARS communications were, at that time, in the clear in plain English and no codes or cyphers were used.

    Furthermore, the MARS affiliate stations, many of whom use their own equipment, do not have access to, or the capability to send and receive encrypted messages. In the case of denial of service via the internet, the US Army has their own infrastructure of HF, VHF, UHF, Satellite, and other communications systems to take care of passing sensitive data. The only data that would be passed through MARS would be low priority, low level stuff.

    There is a requirement for MARS stations to be able to set up and maintain sensitive equipment, and to load software and even encryption keys although there has been a lot of discussion regarding key control. Over the last 35 years I have logged more time than I like to think about at FT Huachuca, and I had several discussions with the MARS HQ guys. There has been a lot of agency imposed mission creep over the years to keep it alive and it has really become a good ol boys club. They were always big promoters of the excessive MARS mission requirements because of job security, that's really why they are so "tight lipped" as you put it.

    However, the Office of the Chief Of Staff Army, has not been a fan for a long time and sees the stuff coming out of Huachuca as non value added. All you need to do is look at the OMB numbers and the dwindling MARS budget tells the real story. the days of DOD MARS are dwindling as technology continues to provide US forces with greater self contained infrastructure including proprietary, highly secure, world wide Intranet.
    W4POT and W1SRR like this.
  3. W6UV

    W6UV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, Mars is dead. None of the probes we've sent have detected any signs of life.
    WZ7U, KC1DQH and AF4LY like this.
  4. W1SRR

    W1SRR Ham Member QRZ Page

    MARS vs Mars, your reply is out of this world ;)
  5. AF4LY

    AF4LY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well you just piqued my interest. Now, I'm going to check it out. Thanks.

    On another note, IIRC, there is a system in place, in the event of an emergency that links all the Auxillary organizations together: CAP, MARS, Coast Guard Auxillary, and the State Defense Forces. This is something I remember hearing one time.

    [Edit: I believe it's called SHARES.]
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    N2SUB likes this.
  6. W2AI

    W2AI QRZ Lifetime Member #240 Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have you had a MARS bar lately??

  7. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ha Ha, they screwed up the printing on the lable, it's spelled all wrong.:D
  8. W5TTW

    W5TTW Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Its laughable to think that today's US Armed Forces would ever need assistance from the amateur radio community. What can I do with my amateur rig that the military can't do? Anyone?
    W4POT and NK2U like this.
  9. AB8MA

    AB8MA Subscriber QRZ Page

    Without a magnetic field to shield against deadly solar winds, Mars never had a chance.
  10. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was the NJ/DE NAVMARCORP MARS assistant director and digital officer back in the 90s. You're right, there was no encryption mostly because digital security was in it's infancy. I built the NJ/DE digital switch which ran unattended , and and AMTOR, PACTOR and RTTY on HF, and Packet on VHF. All messages were in the clear. For the most part, encryption was not in general use.

    I joined ARMY MARS a few years back. All stations are required to send and receive encrypted traffic. Nothing is sent in the clear, not even participation reports. It is a simple piece of software that is used to encrypt messages, and traffic is sent the same as always, except the protocol is now proprietary, and discussing it outside of a MARS forum is a violation of OPSEC. Regarding the mission of a DOS attack, I guess you missed the link I posted earlier:


    Maybe so, but it doesn't hurt to do what you can if you enjoy what you're doing. ;)

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