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Warrior West – Opening Address – Lt Gen John Toolan

April 23rd, 2014

The opening address for this year’s Warrior Expo West is by Lieutenant General John A Toolan, I MEF Commanding General.


“The Marine Corps is a hedge against uncertainty. The mantra? No more Benghazis.”

Lieutenant General John A Toolan, USMC
Commanding General, I MEF

General Toolan’s overall remarks were about anticipating change and industry’s part in this. In particular he discussed four major factors facing our forces:


He shared that he is concerned with the cyber threat, instability in nation states and the trend that we face rogue states and maligned actors.

General Toolan feels that there will be no ‘peace dividend’ after the conclusion of the Afghanistan conflict and that we should be wary of letting our guard down post bellum. He asserts that we need to be prepared to “play all nine innings” in a conflict and not stop at the bottom of the seventh, declaring victory.

He’s a Marine through and through and recognizes that the USMC will be downsizing but remains confident that Marine Corps will be well positioned to undertake any missions they are given. He stated that the United States must maintain a global presence and not focus on one theater over another. Forward presence remains the best deterrence of aggression. Forward Presence also helps America to maintain relationships so that America can work with partners in future conflicts. General Toolan also looks to leverage SOF relationships to support those coalition partnerships.

He states that we need to get better at transitions such as from major US combat to the retrograde of US material and to coalition and host nation led operations. So far, the Marine Corps has returned over $1 billion worth of equipment to the US. However, he feels that the transition of excess equipment to Afghan forces is critical and steps have been taken to ensure that they develop a system to accept and maintain the gear.

Interestingly, the Marine Corps turns over about 33,000 Marines a year. General Toolan discussed this explaining that a lot of combat experience has left the Marines. It’s not a concern, just a fact that they must deal with. But he does see the Marines undertaking a mental transition of the force from a combat focus to more traditional roles and assuming duties that have been outsourced over the last 12 years. He explained that there are things that Marine Corps needs to do mentally and spiritually to make this transition happen. He is impressed with the leadership of his Marines in combat and wants to see that same level of engagement in garrison.

Lt General Toolan is a very interesting speaker and I appreciate his forthrightness in the face of a changing defense environment. I’d say he is very in tune with his Marine Corps. However, he continued the current meme of “excess” being bad for the Marines. But his perspective isn’t that the increased defense spending of this war as being bad for Marines that we seem to see being popularized in the press. Rather he sees that it has caused a decrease in accountability of equipment. As a former leader and taxpayer, I can’t say that I disagree.

5th Annual Warrior Expo West

April 23rd, 2014

With 284 booths representing some of industry’s best products and services, if you’re on the West Coast and not attending this 5th Annual Warrior Expo West, you’re missing out.


Lucky for you, SSD is here with live coverage over the next few days.

Tactical Athlete – Spring Fever Sale

April 23rd, 2014

Spring Fever

Tactical Athlete is holding a Spring Fever sale. Most products will be offered at 30-70% off. Additionally, a number of free shirts are being offered with the purchase of select DVDs. The sale starts tomorrow, April 24th, and runs through April 30th.

If you need a refresher on what Tactical Athlete is all about, check out this video of Jeff Martone demonstrating Kettlebell Training we filmed at the Osprey Range Day back in February:

ADS Inc Releases New C4ISR Catalog

April 23rd, 2014

ADS Inc. has released their latest catalog featuring a full line of C4ISR equipment and solutions from a variety of vendors.


For this catalog, I wrote an article intended to introduce readers to the function and usage of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Click to view .pdf

You can sign up to download the catalog here:

Look for articles featuring some of these C4ISR technologies during this week’s Warrior Expo West.

Live Fire Gear – 550 FireCord On Kickstarter

April 23rd, 2014


550 FireCord is a project currently up for funding on Kickstarter. It consists of 550 paracord with the inner core replaced with a composite that functions as an fire starting material.

FireCord is completely functional in all the same ways that standard 550 paracord is: it can be made into lanyards and zipper pulls, used as a survival material, etc. While the composite is encased in the paracord sleeve, FireCord is no more volatile than traditional paracord. Outside of the sleeve, the composite ignites with ease, burns very hot, features a long burn time for its volume, and is completely waterproof. Of course, the paracord sleeve is still functional even after the composite core is removed.

Arc’teryx LEAF Drypack 70 Video Is Now Live

April 23rd, 2014

A video detailing the Arc’teryx LEAF Drypack 70 has just been released.


Constructed from HT 725D Cordura nylon with polyurethane coating on both sides, the Drypack 70 is a 100% waterproof load carriage pack appropriate for maritime special operations. It features a C² suspension system with a laminate back panel, GridLock shoulder straps that adjust to custom width and height, and removable Load Transfer Disc that rotates freely to stabilize load on uneven terrain. The full alpine backpack carrying system, completely removable, greatly aids the user’s land mobility.

The RollTop closure and TIZIP master seal zipper provides a waterproof seal, and an oral inflation valve controls buoyancy. Top and bottom grab handles and a removable 1m tether makes the bag easy to manipulate and allows for towing, hauling, or carrying options.

Web Dominator webbing management keeps the Drypack streamlined. Two removable side compression enhances load management. The interior features white lining for aid in viewing contents during low light conditions.

Currently available in MultiCam.

Panteao Productions – New Vehicle Defense Video With Paul Howe

April 23rd, 2014

Columbia, SC, April 22, 2014 – Panteao is happy to introduce a new video title with Paul Howe: Make Ready with Paul Howe: Vehicle Defense.

Unless you ride a subway or bicycle to work, odds are you find yourself in a vehicle pretty often. Most likely every day of the week. That said, if you carry a firearm, how would you defend yourself from a vehicle? We got you covered with this video from Paul Howe.

Paul is a high-risk training instructor that served 20 years in the US Army, ten of those in Special Operations. He served as a Tactical Team Leader and Senior Instructor while assigned to Army Special Operations. During his tour in special operations he was involved in several combat actions. One of the most notable was the battle of Mogadishu that was later portrayed in the motion picture Black Hawk Down.

In this video, Paul takes you through shooting from both the inside and outside of a vehicle, moving around vehicles, skipping rounds off a vehicle and under it, dealing with moving targets, and more. Paul also goes over flat range drills that will help you fine tune your skills. Time is critical when you are confined in your car or truck. With this video you will be much better prepared.

The DVD is available for pre-order. Panteao website subscribers will be able to watch the video starting April 24th.


Combat Performance Group – Killkard

April 22nd, 2014

Killkard 1

The Killkard was designed by a Marine Scout Sniper as a tool to provide red dot optic equipped rifle shooters a visual aid to reference bullet drop based on their zero distance. This aids at increasing probability of a hit at longer ranges and shorter ranges when engaging limited exposure targets.

Killkard 2

Made from laminated vinyl, the Killkard has a self-adhesive back and is designed to be placed on the comb of the stock for quick reference by the operator.

Available in 36/300Y, 25Y, and 50Y zero distances.

GeigerRig/Spartan Race – Prototype Hydration Pack – Sneak Peak

April 22nd, 2014


Pressurized hydration pack company GeigerRig, in partnership with Spartan Race, is producing a Spartan Race-themed hydration pack. All that’s been shown of the new pack so far is the prototype model.


Made from 500D Cordura nylon, the Spartan Race hydration pack features an internal post-race mesh drying bag, fully closed pressure bulb, fully enclosed and protected spray valve, and heavy-duty external daisy chain.

The pack is designed for low profile and features a short torso length. An integrated lower-back hip belt is designed or weight dispersal and load stabilization, and the internal Guardian back frame is included for safety and stability.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

My Favorite SOB Is Back!

April 22nd, 2014

John McPhee, the Sheriff of Baghdad is launching a new website, May 1st.


Sign up now to enter a chance to win one of a series of prizes he will be giving away from his sponsors each of the first 10 days of May.