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.
But after doing all this reporting, we think what Bannon does is often tactical. (40 min)
.. Bannon and the Mercers actively supported with publicity and money people tied to white supremacists. Like, maybe he doesn’t really agree with those white supremacists who helped with the rise of people like Milo Yiannopoulos, the rise of Breitbart News and the rise of Donald Trump. Maybe those people are just numbers to him. I mean, I guess if you’re down with white supremacists, you’re down with white supremacists and no one should care why you’re down with them. But if you are tactical, that means you can change.
.. You wanted to be the Leni Riefenstahl for George Bush, then you wanted to be the Leni Riefenstahl for the Republican Party. Now you want to blow up the Republican Party. The world moves fast. The attention span is not long. I mean, this is a guy who’s invested in Biosphere 2, nasal spray, the San Diego Chicken and “World Of Warcraft.” Like, maybe after he gets tired of hashtag #WAR, Steve Bannon will move on to something else.
We talk about what’s known and what’s not known about terrorism; we talk about what’s working and what’s not to prevent it; we talk about whether we overvalue the threat of tactical terrorism and undervalue the threat of strategic terrorism, including cyber- and bioterrorism.
Knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with them — and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney — that saved me from being raped.
.. The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, “I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.”
When he was finally convinced that I was not going to earn the movie the way he had expected, he told me he had offered my role and my script with my years of research to another actress.
.. he gave me a list of impossible tasks with a tight deadline:
1. Get a rewrite of the script, with no additional payment.
2. Raise $10 million to finance the film.
3. Attach an A-list director.
4. Cast four of the smaller roles with prominent actors.
Much to everyone’s amazement, not least my own, I delivered, thanks to a phalanx of angels who came to my rescue, including Edward Norton, who beautifully rewrote the script several times and appallingly never got credit, and my friend Margaret Perenchio, a first-time producer, who put up the money. The brilliant Julie Taymor agreed to direct, and from then on she became my rock. For the other roles, I recruited my friends Antonio Banderas, Edward Norton and my dear Ashley Judd. To this day, I don’t know how I convinced Geoffrey Rush, whom I barely knew at the time.
.. Now Harvey Weinstein was not only rejected but also about to do a movie he did not want to do.
Ironically, once we started filming, the sexual harassment stopped but the rage escalated. We paid the price for standing up to him nearly every day of shooting.
.. So he told me he was going to shut down the film because no one would want to see me in that role.
It was soul crushing because, I confess, lost in the fog of a sort of Stockholm syndrome, I wanted him to see me as an artist: not only as a capable actress but also as somebody who could identify a compelling story and had the vision to tell it in an original way.
.. I was hoping he would acknowledge me as a producer, who on top of delivering his list of demands shepherded the script and obtained the permits to use the paintings.
.. But all of this seemed to have no value. The only thing he noticed was that I was not sexy in the movie.
.. He offered me one option to continue. He would let me finish the film if I agreed to do a sex scene with another woman. And he demanded full-frontal nudity.
He had been constantly asking for more skin, for more sex. Once before, Julie Taymor got him to settle for a tango ending in a kiss instead of the lovemaking scene he wanted us to shoot between the character Tina Modotti, played by Ashley Judd, and Frida.
.. When Harvey saw the cut film, he said it was not good enough for a theatrical release and that he would send it straight to video.
This time Julie had to fight him without me and got him to agree to release the film in one movie theater in New York if we tested it to an audience and we scored at least an 80.
Less than 10 percent of films achieve that score on a first screening.
I didn’t go to the test. I anxiously awaited to receive the news. The film scored 85... the film industry stopped making an effort to find out what female audiences wanted to see and what stories we wanted to tell... between 2007 and 2016, only 4 percent of directors were female and 80 percent of those got the chance to make only one film. In 2016, another study found, only 27 percent of words spoken in the biggest movies were spoken by women.