It was originally founded in 1752 by James McCullen I to sell weapons to warring countries for profit. When McCullen was found out, he received a mask as punishment by the French, but he convinced his family to carry on the family business. For the next 300 years, 20 generations of the McCullen clan family continued selling weapons for profit, even when James McCullen XXIV (later known as Destro became the new CEO of the corporation. Serving as an early investor in Macau with lucrative real holdings, Destro used M.A.R.S.' wealth to hire mercenaries and stir up conflicts by selling weapons to any side of a war who will meet his prices. Because of this, this stirred Cobra Commander to bring in Destro to his inner circle in COBRA, effectively fusing M.A.R.S. to provide weapons to COBRA as a result.
In the series, M.A.R.S Industries is the main supplier of weapons to COBRA as Destro (being the CEO of the corporation) happens to be COBRA's weapons designer. However, it was shut down after Destro is taken into custody for his crimes.
G.I. Joe: Renegades
In the series, M.A.R.S. Industries was involved in capturing war veterans to raise mass-production of exo-armors for Cobra. However, it was later fused into COBRA after Cobra Commander learned that Destro has leaked info about the armor to the Joes out of spite against Dr. Mindbender.
Tn the 2009 film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the company is renamed as the Military Armaments Research Syndicate, and that Destro used NATO's fundings for his research on nanomites on behalf of M.A.R.S.' true intent to steal warheads and use them bring worldwide chaos in retribution for his ancestor's punishment. Though Destro was able to send a warhead into the Eifel Tower in Paris, he failed to send the other warhead into Washington, Beijing and Moscow, as part of Cobra Commander's plan to take over the world. However, the Joes managed to foil the plot, forcing Cobra Commander to usurp control of M.A.R.S. Industries from Destro and rename it as COBRA.