General: Air Force must restore readiness as adversaries challenge

Published: Thursday, September 14, 2017 @ 5:00 AM

            Air Force Gen. James Holmes, the top general at Air Combat Command, speaks at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Industry Days on Wednesday at the University of Dayton Research Institute. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF
Air Force Gen. James Holmes, the top general at Air Combat Command, speaks at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Industry Days on Wednesday at the University of Dayton Research Institute. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF

The Air Force must target rebuilding readiness and getting weapon systems faster in an era when U.S. deterrence has waned with aging Reagan-era weapon systems, a top general says.

Gen. James “Mike” Holmes, commander of the Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va., spoke Wednesday at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Industry Days at the University of Dayton Research Institute. More than 700 people in the defense industry or government workforce attended the conference.

Air Force leaders who also spoke warned of an impending technology gap with adversaries as threats worldwide grow and U.S. military superiority has eroded. The military branch expects to increasingly rely on multi-domain warfare in areas such as cyber and space in battles with future adversaries, officials said.

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The Air Force has fought in continuous combat since Operation Desert Storm 26 years ago and adversaries have adapted their strategies and weapons to face U.S. forces, according to Holmes.

“We face determined, smart, capable adversaries who have spent 26 years watching what we did and watching those Reagan-era systems,” he said.

Russia, China North Korea and Iran have engaged in unconventional or irregular warfare strategies, the four-star general said.

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Russia has intervened militarily in the Ukraine and China has created man-made islands in the Pacific, among other actions in recent years. And adversaries have employed economic clout to strain U.S. relations with allies and attempted to split alliances, he said.

China and Russia have shown “they feel like they have room to operate in a military contest without triggering a response from us” as U.S. conventional capabilities have declined, he said.

“We’ve got to reset that deterrent capability if we’re going to regain our advantage in the air …” he said. “We’ve lived on that Reagan-era investment. Now, we’re going to have to find a new advantage.”

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The United States also must break the paradigm that it has two decades to develop a weapon system.

“We now live in a world where our adversaries are building new things every day faster than we thought they could,” he said.

The former F-15 fighter pilot urged re-examining lessons of the Cold War in the U.S. space race and the development of the F-117 stealth fighter as models on how the system can work.

“I think we need to convince the country that we need to spend the money to maintain that advantage,” he said.

The military uses an industrial age acquisition system created in the 1960s but needs one for the information age, Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, commander of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, told attendees.

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The air service has experimented with taking off-the-shelf technology, such as recent flight tests of light attack planes, as an alternative to expensive, years-long development, officials said.

Maj. Gen. William Cooley, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson, said experimentation, affordability and speed of development are three key target areas. “Today, we have become more risk averse and we’ve got to be willing to take more risks,” he said.

Col. Sean Larkin, commander of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson, said more capable adversaries have challenged U.S. sanctuaries through tapping into commercially driven technology, such as drones, cyber operations, small satellites and artificial intelligence. Competing nations have invested heavily in new technologies such as hypersonics, also, he said.

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SVG Motors may open Beavercreek store this summer

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 8:51 AM

Steve Van Gorder, of SVG Motors, under the Trenor Chevy, Buick and GMC sign in Urbana last year. Bill Lackey/Staff
Steve Van Gorder, of SVG Motors, under the Trenor Chevy, Buick and GMC sign in Urbana last year. Bill Lackey/Staff

Rapidly growing auto dealer Steve VanGorder has bought land for an expanded dealership in Beavercreek, a site that might become his fifth location as early as this summer.

In an interview Thursday, VanGorder said he hopes to open the new lot as early as this August, but no later than 2019.

The location is a good one for VanGorder, a familiar face from his many TV commercials. He has lived in Greene County for 25 years, and the Beavercreek location will effectively have his stores surrounding the city of Dayton. SVG Motors also has locations in Dayton at 400 Shoup Mill Road, as well as Eaton, Urbana and Greenville.

“I call it home,” VanGorder said of Greene County.

SVG has grown aggressively. Since May 2014, VanGorder’s acquisitions have grown from a single used car dealership. He has sold some 7,000 vehicles since then.

With the new dealership, SVG will have more than 1,000 vehicles available for shoppers, and he will have about 200 employees under the SVG umbrella.

“I’ve got some really solid and amazing team members out there,” VanGorder said.

One reason he can shift his focus to the Greene County project is the addition of two experienced general managers to his team, Mitchell Gadd and Mel Lehrner.

Said VanGorder: “Both of those guys combined have 50 years’ experience.”

VanGorder’s approach is different. While he is known for his TV spots, his team wears bright orange shirts and orange shoes.

“Buying a car ought to be fun,” VanGorder said.

Greene County property records show that SVG Properties paid just more than $1 million for property at 3415 Seajay Drive, the former home of Eastgate Ford.

The purchase was of nearly 5.8 acres of land.

“Thirty days from now you might not recognize the place,” VanGorder told the Springfield News-Sun last summer after he bought Trenor Motors in Urbana. “We’re going to invest some money making it more something you might see in a dealership in the 2000s. There’s some appeal to the look of the place, but GM is holding all their dealers to a higher standard, and we want this to be a comfortable experience for everybody that comes into the dealership.”

In April 2016, SVG acquired the Myers Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership in Eaton.

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Icelandic discount airline adds more flights at Cincinnati airport

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 8:18 AM

These tips are sure to help you save big on summer travel!

Icelandic low-cost airline WOW air is adding a fifth weekly frequency to its scheduled service at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

Due to strong demand, WOW air is increasing its service frequency from four days a week — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday — to five days a week throughout the summer travel season, June 4 to Sept. 17.

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The new frequency will depart on Wednesdays at 12:50 AM.

“The response from local travelers for WOW air’s low-cost international service has been extremely positive, and we appreciate WOW air adding a fifth frequency this summer to accommodate the strong demand,” said Candace McGraw, chief executive officer, CVG.

WOW air is offering $99 one-way flights from CVG to Iceland and $149 one-way flights from CVG to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dublin, Berlin and Copenhagen.

WOW air begins service from CVG on May 9, 2018. All flights arrive to CVG at 11:50PM from Keflavik Airport and depart at 12:50AM. Flights will operate with new Airbus A321 aircraft with a 208 seat capacity.


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Financial experts say you should do these things with your tax refund

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 6:13 PM

‘Tis the season for taxpayers to get a nice chunk of change back from the IRS.

It’s tempting to spend it all, but financial experts say there are steps you should take to shore up your financial future. 

Some who usually pay off debt will splurge this year.

“I’m going to Japan in April so I’m actually going to add that to my travel fund, so I’m really excited about it,” said Olivia Morris from Centerville.

Those who used to spend their return? 

“I just plan to save it. We are about to start a family, so I plan on saving it for the baby,” said Toska Ivory of Dayton. 

It’s important to have a plan for tax return funds or any financial windfall, said Lisa Roberts, Graceworks certified housing and credit counselor.

Pay urgent bills first then save. 

“If it’s something that is urgent -- a bill that’s going to be a roof over your head, utilities, pay them,” said Roberts, “after that you definitely want to put it into savings.”

WalletHub has these additional tax refund spending recommendations:

  • Invest in an IRS or 529 savings plan for your child’s education
  • Refinance your home loan if you can get a lower rate
  • Increase your home’s value by doing some home improvement projects. 

As for splurging? 

“If you do have the funds to do that once all of your debts and things are paid- and saving- then by all means you’ve earned it,” said Roberts. 

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Millions approved for U.S. 35 work: What we know now

Published: Thursday, January 25, 2018 @ 9:28 AM
Updated: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 4:52 PM

U.S. 35 getting new lane eastbound from Dayton to I-675 in a couple of years

It appears that a new lane along U.S. 35 from Dayton to Interstate 675, as well as the building of a more easily flowing “super street” on 35 in Greene County, are on a fast track to development.

A key state committee yesterday approved state funding for the work in Montgomery County, adding a lane on 35 from Steve Whalen Boulevard to I-675.

The TRAC — the state Transportation Review Advisory Council — also re-confirmed an earlier vote approving a “super street” in Greene County, a project that will entail a new U.S. 35 interchange at North Valley and Trebein roads.

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Chris Kershner, executive vice president at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and one of nine TRAC members, said the work in both counties is “essential for the east-west movement of goods and commuting for our region.”

“These projects have been on our priority list for a long time,” Kershner said Thursday.

“It’s a very good thing that funding was approved for those,” said Steve Stanley, executive director for the Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District.

The Eastern edges of the Dayton area have been growing for years, drawn by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — which remains Ohio’s largest single-site employer, with an estimated 27,000 military and civilian employees — and Wright State University, along with businesses that serve them both.

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The Valley-Trebein work is a separate allocation, a $2 million project. “That’s something that really needed to happen,” Kershner said.

Anyone who lives east of Beavercreek or travels through it is familiar with the traffic problems on 35, particularly between North Fairfield Road and the Xenia bypass.

“It’s become gridlock, and that continual gridlock will make us unattractive for economic growth,” Kershner said. “So yesterday’s TRAC vote will solve that problem.”

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“The (TRAC) vote happened, and we’re on there (on the list of approved projects),” said Brian Martin, director of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. “I think it’s a big deal.”

Federal funds of $2.4 million will serve as the “local” match for the Montgomery County project, Martin said.

On a draft TRAC list, the “super street” in Greene County is listed for an allocation of $13 million total. 

Martin said that project will get a blend of local and federal funds — about $3 million in federal funds and $1.5 million expected in local funds, from the city of Beavercreek, as well as Greene County and Beavercreek Twp.

That project is committed to fiscal year 2019, Martin said.

Also on the TRAC draft list as a “Tier II project” is a plan to improve access to Dayton International Airport and U.S. 40 from I-70 westbound. That is identified as a total $11.9 million project.

Placement on the Tier II list means the project is not ready to move forward on construction. Stanley said the TID will request Tier I construction funds this calendar year.

“That just means we start the process of the ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) considering” moving the project to the top tier, Stanley said. 

The idea of building a “super street” along U.S. 35 in Greene County — as a way to address congestion and accidents — has been eyed for years.

The plan will create U-turns instead of left-hand turns at the Orchard Lane and Factory Road intersections, which had 100 crashes over the last three years, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation said in a local public meeting in November.

The project is estimated to cost $16 million to $17 million total, that spokesman said in November.

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