When the Air Force was struggling with the problem of pilots and civilians dying because of unusual soil and dirt conditions in Afghanistan, it did not know where to turn to get help quickly. The soil was getting into the routers of its Sikorsky UH-6o helicopters and obscuring the view of its pilots-what the military calls a "brown out." Ironically, the policymaker tasked with addressing the problem in the Department of Defense (DOD) had no way to know that the man practically sitting across from him had nine years of experience flying these Blackhawk helicopters in the field. Civil service titles, such as "director" and "assistant director," reveal little about skills or experience.

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