The US Department of Defense is phasing out the US Navy-Marine Corps Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) program. Its operational mission will transition to the other MARS service branches by the end of September. The announcement was from the head of the US Navy-Marine Corps MARS program in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Navy-Marine Corps MARS program also supports the US Coast Guard as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the US Department of Homeland Security, and local emergency management agencies. A US Department of Defense-sponsored program, MARS branches are separately managed by their respective military service branches. MARS volunteers are Amateur Radio operators who provide auxiliary or emergency communications to local, national, and international emergency and safety organizations, as an adjunct to normal communications.
“Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic (NCTAMS LANT) intends to work with US Army MARS and US Air Force MARS in transitioning the Navy-Marine Corps MARS (NAVMARCORMARS) program by 30 Sep 2015,” the announcement said. “The intent of the transition is to best align the program to support national mission requirements.” Chris Jensen of NCTAMS LANT confirmed the authenticity of the bulletin.
“As stated, the Navy no longer has any service specific requirements for MARS and is working within DoD to transition Navy-Marine Corps MARS into the Army and Air Force MARS,” Jensen told ARRL. “We will continue to publish updates as this transition progresses.” Bo Lindford, N9UH, of NCTAMS LANT also confirmed the authenticity of the bulletin.
The announcement said that an evaluation of the Navy-Marine Corps MARS program had determined that “there are no US Navy Service unique requirements,” an that NCTAMS LANT would be working with the other MARS service branches and Navy-Marine Corps MARS volunteers “to to develop a transition plan for NAVMARCORMARS members.”
“Current NAVMARCORMARS individual members and clubs are encouraged to begin submission of applications to US Army MARS or US Air Force MARS programs as soon as possible,” the announcement said.
“The US Navy greatly appreciates the thousands of MARS volunteers, past and present, who have been integral to the success of MARS,” the announcement concluded. “NCTAMS LANT will keep you informed of transition efforts and requests your assistance to help start this new chapter in MARS operations.”