Below is this years message from the SECDEF. This message was intercepted during the annual cross-band test using the digital mode called M110A that is available to Hams for download. Here is a website to download M110A by W3JJJ and I believe you can download it from the US Army MARS Website as well. The message was sent without encryption so Hams and shortwave listeners could copy it. It is signed by USMC Retired General Mattis which I have had the pleasure to hear speak when he came to Colorado Springs.
In addition to the SECDEF message there are several military stations that are on the air transmitting on military frequencies and listening on amateur frequencies. This allows hams to make direct contact.
Usually, after you have heard or talked to the stations you can fill out a form at the Army MARS web site and wait for your QSL card that shows the stations you made two way contact.
Due to budget constraints the responsiveness is somewhat slow and there is no more certificate for copying the SECDEF message which in my mind just takes a way from the event and while I understand budget issues there is a point where it becomes counter productive. I look at this event as one of the main Air Force MARS and Army MARS recruiting efforts of the year. It is important to make it as memorable as possible.
That being said, this year, station NSS sent out their own QSL cards to Hams that contacted them.
Today I received the QSL card and I have to say kudos or in Navy speak a big Bravo Zulu to the crew at NSS as they celebrated their 100th year since operations began.
73 NSS and Thanks