The inside outsider: Robert Neller scraps the Marines’ winning formula
The most brilliant tactical formation devised by any team in the last half-century isn’t football’s Packer sweep, basketball’s triangle offense or anything else relating to sports.
It’s the rifle squads of the United States Marine Corps... the last infantry formation of substance—is a squad of 13 Marines composed of a leader and a dozen riflemen grouped into three “fire teams” of four... likens Marine squads to world-class dance troupes. “Everybody’s movement depends on everybody else’s,” he says... Marine Corps Commandant Robert Neller.. Marines can’t wrap their heads around: why he wants to scrap them... the most exotic leadership breeds of all—the inside outsider... dubbed him the president of the “I don’t see why” club... contrarian streak came with him.“I was always the guy in the audience throwing the metaphorical Molotov cocktail,”.. Few resident gadflies ever get to the top; they ruffle too many feathers along the way... Marines had spent nearly two decades in a state of constant deployment. They hadn’t had time to fully address the shifting map of global threats or even the mandate to include women in combat roles. Above all, they needed to get a handle on technology.
.. OK, Neller. You’ve been out here wanking for 38 years. We’re going to make you own this
.. Military leaders are often accused of preparing to fight the last war. Gen. Neller doesn’t have that problem.
.. In December, for instance, he made headlines in Norway by telling a group of Marines to be prepared for a “bigass fight.”
.. Marines don’t get many shots at war, so studying history is a vital form of practice.
.. In his view, the historical transition to digital warfare is just as significant as earlier shifts Marines have made from horses to vehicles or vehicles to tanks.
.. Gen. Neller concluded that each rifle squad needed two additional billets—an assistant squad leader and a squad systems operator focused on technology. Adding two people presented a problem
.. Not only did he add those new billets, he decided to reduce a squad’s size to 12 by eliminating one Marine from each of its three fire teams.
.. One knock on inside outsiders is that they often rush to implement pet ideas without thoroughly examining them or creating backup plans in case they fail.
.. he’s fully prepared to restore one rifleman to each fire team if it proves necessary.