Interview for “Inside Homeland Security”

By Professor Gary W. Dill


1. Please explain your background and experience in the homeland security arena.

I have background in the intelligence, military, and law enforcement fields. I initially spent seven years in the USMC and US Navy and am a Vietnam veteran. In the 1970’s I was a civilian Special Agent with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), now called NCIS. While serving in that capacity, we dealt with terrorism in Europe and the Phillipine Islands and its threat to our naval facilities overseas. I later worked as an Agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, and was Chief of Police of two cities. As a collateral duty, I served as the training coordinator for the southeast US district of ONI/NIS, training agents in defensive tactics and combat firearms. I was a senior police defensive tactics instructor for the state of Oklahoma CLEET (police training and certification agency), and also was commissioned to upgrade and develop their statewide police defensive tactics program in the 1980’s. I am a certified Grandmaster in the martial arts, and have being training military, civilians, and law enforcement officers since 1965. I am presently personally teaching special operations combat units of the US Air Force as well as providing exclusive seminars in the area of Anti-Terrorist empty hand combatives.

2. You are the founder and chief instructor of SDS Combat Systems. Please explain your company and the services it provides.

SDS Combat Systems (CS) was developed three years ago in order to address the requested needs of US military special operations units in the area of close quarters combat training. It is a division of Self-Defense Systems, International which is my world wide martial arts organization. We provide specialized training in non-firearm combatives to military, government, law enforcement, and civilian entities. CS is a no-nonsense, realistic training program based on various martial arts techniques and tactics, but is not a martial arts program. There are no sport or aesthetics, but is the essence of pure hand to hand combat for street and battlefield survival.

The CS program is based upon my many years of personal experience in the military and law enforcement, as well as input from various military spec ops personnel. It is stripped down to the bare essentials of what will work in an actual combat or personal defense situation. It is extremely effective, easy to learn (based on natural movements), easy to execute, and has a high retention rate due to the training format.




3. How did the SDS Combat Systems get started?

Around three years ago, I was approached by an east coast company that specializes in military, government, and private corporate security services and training. They requested me to develop a close quarters combat training program in order to contract my services to their clients. Since then they have set up the CS training for Air Force spec ops personnel and is in the process of having our program contracted out to various other clients.

Who usually attends the training?

CS training is open-ended. We have trained military, as well as law enforcement, government agents, and civilians throughout the years.

The SDS Combat Systems program can be specially modified to meet the needs and mission of each individual client. Can you explain this in more detail?

Each client has their own specific needs in regards to defensive tactics and military combatives. We customize the training to fit their needs. One client, perhaps a police or private security company, may want primarily compliance based techniques and tactics which are geared to control the assailant. Another client, such as a military unit, may request a more combat version which results in the neutralization or termination of the enemy. Another client may wish to have a combination of both ranges of combat. One program may consist of only a weekend seminar, whereas our Air Force “Phase One” program is a five day program. It all depends on the needs and mission of the client.

What curriculum is typically covered during training?

Once again it is up to the needs of the client. But a good example is our Air Force five day “Phase One” training program. The student will train in punching skills (boxing and Jeet Kune Do) working on the focus mitts; open hand strikes; blocking: low level kicks to the foot, leg, groin; grappling skills (chokes, takedowns, joint locks, bone breaks, neck breaks, ground combat); how to enter and attack the opponent; breakholds; weapons defense; gun disarms; use of the knife and the baton; and improvising weapons from common items (ink pen, belt,

blanket or jacket, magazine, etc). Because of the nature of their mission, the AF Phase One is very aggressive and offensive in nature. We can modify much of the above material for a more defensive mode using compliance techniques.

We can do a one day program or up to several days or weeks.





What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

No doubt about it, it is when I am training our military spec ops personnel. These guys and gals today are motivated, in shape, and know that they are there on the mat learning skills that may one day save their life. Most of them have already served more than one mission in the “sand box”. They give me 100% attention and effort. It is extremely satisfying when they come up to me after the course, shake my hand and personally thank me for the training. You know that you are making a difference and contributing to their survival. It is also satisfying knowing that perhaps one of the people in your class, either military or civilian, may be on a commercial aircraft or in a federal or private building, may be the one who steps up and stops another terrorist attack because he or she has the personal combat skills to take control of the terrorist and eliminate the threat. It is satisfying to get a message from a former student that the training he received saved his life in combat. Or perhaps, getting a comment on our course evaluation sheets stating that “this is the best training that I have had since I have been in the military”. There is nothing that can match this type of “enjoyment.” Personal security and national security……..that is what it is all about.

Why did you decide to become a member of the CHS program?

I was personally recruited by Dr. O’Block while I was on vacation in Branson, Missouri last July. A mutual acquaintance, Grandmaster Wayne Carmen of Branson, called my cell phone and asked me if I would like to meet a friend of his who shares my interest in homeland security and anti-terrorism. That friend was Robert O’Block. We had a long meeting and I was very impressed with his CHS organization and its mission. Two days later, Dr. O’Block and I met again, and he had the application for CHS membership and I was honored to join. Since then he placed me on the CHS Defensive Tactics Board of Advisors.

I feel that it is an obligation for private citizens to become active in contributing to the homeland security of our country. It has given many opportunities to us and now it is time to return our individuals skills to the aid of our country.

How has membership in the program benefited you?

Of course, I am a “newbie”, and haven’t the opportunity to meet the other members in CHS, but I feel honored to be a member of a national organization that contributes to the security of our country and to be with men and women who share the same interest and passion that I have for homeland security and anti-terrorism. The famous phase from President Kennedy inaugural speech,

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country”

is, in my opinion, the essence of the CHS program.





What steps should CHS members interested in SDS Combat Systems training take to get more information?

I can be contacted personally by telephone at (918) 335-0003, or by email at My mailing address is:

P.O. Box 3396

Bartlesville, Oklahoma 74006

I have a martial arts website at but have no links to the CS program, because it is not available to the general public.

No training session is too small or too big for the CS team. I have over a dozen certified instructors, personally trained by me, who, along with me, are available for providing training.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

I plan on having a long relationship with CHS and hope that one day I may be an asset to the organization. I am looking forward to meeting the other members in Kansas City next year. And I thank Dr. O’Block for his assistance and for making me aware of this outstanding organization.