First off, what is this “THULS” thing? For starters, based on their patented Multi-Environment Rewrite System (MERS), it was developed by Mission Information Resources, Inc and has been adopted by the Marine Corps for use by small unit leaders. Over 40,000 handbooks have been fielded by the Marine Enhancement Program and this is how they describe it…

The Leader’s Tactical Handbook (LTH), TM-10203A-OD, Publication Control Number (PCN) 180102030 00, is the Marine Corps base model of the multi-environment rewritable system known and produced as “Tactical Handbook, Unit Leader, Small” (THULS).

They go on to describe its physical make up…

Breast and sleeve-pocket sized, the LTH is comprised of 60 cards, 10 tabs, & 120 pages of preprinted standardized information on a plasticized medium providing a write-on/wipe-off rewritable surface suitable for use in all weather conditions, including underwater.

And finally, its intent…

The handbook helps less experienced Marines organize information into logical chunks, concepts, and patterns and serves as a reminder during times of time-compressing, stress, and fatigue during garrison and field evolutions.

We want to applaud the Marine Corps for being first adopters on this system. Once you see a handbook, you will realize how useful it is.

There are loads of automated systems showing up in the battlespace to help you manage information and format reports but they all rely on two unreliable factors; power and comms. Power is finite and comms can be a mystery even to experts when faced with some environments. The beauty of this systems is that it is always there whether there are comms and power or not. Like they say, “Where Technology fails…THULS perseveres!” Additionally, it is not affected by weather. You can write with alcohol pens or pencils over and over. The waterproof pages can be written on even underwater for use as a dive slate.

Already the the medical community is looking at ways to adopt THULS. In fact, the pages can be decontaminated with medical grade materials and data written in pencil will not be destroyed.

Really, anyone who uses checklists or other formatted reports can benefit from THULS. What’s more, as additional formats are added to the catalog, the system’s modular nature will be even more beneficial. Pages or cards can be added and subtracted based on AORs, changing TTPs, attachments, new pieces of equipment, or to conform to new ROE. The design is anything but static. The limiting factor here is imagination. The basic technology can be adapted to any application. Aviation, diving, airborne, recce, maritime, you name it.

One thing we will address is the white pages. We asked the designers why they chose white and it was actually by necessity. Early models were offered with tan pages but those wearing Night Vision Goggles were unable to read the pages. Once the color was altered to white everything could be made out under NODs.

We have by no means even touched the tip of the iceberg with this system. And, they have developed other products to assist with the production of fire support and small unit movement overlays in addition to sector sketches. To learn more, visit M I R, Inc at the Infantry Warfighter Conference at Ft Benning 13-15 September or at Modern Day Marine at Quantico 28 – 30 September or visit them on the web at

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