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.

RELATED: Wright-Patt, AF leaders to meet with industry on defense needs

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.

RELATED: Defense experts divided on how to handle North Korea

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.

5 smart questions to ask at the end of your next interview

Published: Thursday, September 07, 2017 @ 9:53 AM
Updated: Thursday, September 07, 2017 @ 9:53 AM

Here are 5 smart questions to ask at the end of your next interview What type of employee tends to succeed here, and what qualities are most important for doing well and advancing at the firm? Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications? Who previously held this position? What are the company's highest priority goals this year, and how would my role contribute? If you were to hire me, what might I expect in a typical day?

When you're preparing for that all-important job interview, you probably spend a fair amount of time wondering what questions you might be asked and how you should respond. But it's just as important to consider the end of the interview when you're asked, "Do you have any questions?" 

You should always have a few questions prepared to ask – and they shouldn't be of the "How much time off would I get?" variety.

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Instead, take the opportunity to further demonstrate your qualifications while learning more about whether the company and position would be a good fit for you.

The following are five smart questions to ask at the end of your next interview:

What type of employee tends to succeed here, and what qualities are most important for doing well and advancing at the firm?

This question shows you're invested in your potential future with the company and gives you the opportunity to expand on any of your skills or work history that fits in well with your interviewer's answer. According to Business Insider, also helps you decide whether the company and position are right for you, since this is just as important as the interviewer deciding whether you're right for the company.

Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?

Although it may seem like a subject you want to avoid, this question lets the interviewer know that you're confident enough to discuss any vulnerabilities and that you're willing to be coached, which is an important quality for a prospective employee to have. U.S. News & World Report reports it also gives you the chance to address, without sounding defensive, any shortcomings your interviewer thinks you have.

Who previously held this position?

Forbes editors suggest this question will let you know if the person was fired, promoted or left for another reason. If he or she was promoted, you may be learning about a possible career trajectory and the potential for advancement. If not, listen for possible signs of employee discontent that may be revealed if an employee left the company entirely or made a lateral move. You also may be able to gauge whether the company has employees around your age. For example, did the person who previously held this position retire or quit to spend more time with their young kids?

What are the company's highest priority goals this year, and how would my role contribute?

The answer to this question will help you learn if your job has an important purpose that clearly fits into the company's goals, according to Inc. A job that matters and directly ties into a company's mission can make your work feel worthwhile while making it less likely that your position will be eliminated if there's a round of budget cuts.

If you were to hire me, what might I expect in a typical day?

Not only does this question show more interest in the position, but according to Business Insiderit also gives you very specific information about expectations and responsibilities. Finding out what a typical day might be like will help you decide whether it's a job that fits well with your skills and career goals or one that would leave you dreading the workday.

7 ways women can avoid being ‘manterrupted’ at work

Published: Thursday, September 07, 2017 @ 4:20 PM
Updated: Thursday, September 07, 2017 @ 4:20 PM

Women are interrupted 30% more than men in the workplace Being constantly interrupted by men, or "manterrupted," quiets women and makes them lose confidence To avoid spiraling into self-doubt, here are some tips to put a stop to interruptions Speak with conviction using words like 'know' instead of 'believe' Use shorter sentences so your breaths in between aren't as long, making it harder to interrupt Lean in and make eye contact Speak authoritatively and don't open remarks with any type of apology Be sur

While the ultimate example may be Kanye West's "I'm gonna let you finish" interruption of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards, women get interrupted by men in much more ordinary circumstances.

How much more often are women interrupted than men in the workplace?

In fact, studies say they're interrupted constantly, especially in the workplace, where women get interrupted about 30 percent more than men. On social media, the term “manterrupted” has become popular.

RELATED: 5 smart questions to ask at the end of your next interview

As Jessica Bennet describes the phenomena on, "We speak up in a meeting, only to hear a man's voice chime in louder. We pitch an idea, perhaps too uncertainly, only to have a dude repeat it with authority. We may possess the skill, but he has the right vocal cords." The effects of this, for women, go far beyond annoyance, the Time article suggests; being interrupted constantly quiets women, makes them lose their confidence and sometimes credit for their work. 

"Our ideas get co-opted (bro-opted), re-appropriated (bro-propriated?), or they simply fizzle out," says Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg. "We become less creative, less engaged. We revert into ourselves, wondering if it's actually our fault. Enter spiral of self-doubt."

But women don't have to take interruptions in stride. Leslie Shore, the author of Listen to Succeed, offered these tips in Forbes that anyone can use to put a stop to interruptions, though they are particularly designed for women: 

  • Override the interruption right away. If you are interrupted for "any reason other than someone asking for clarification, say to the interrupter, 'There are a few more essential points I need to make. Can you delay a moment while I do that?' or 'I know I will appreciate your feedback, but can you hold off until I'm done?'"

  • Adopt speaking strategies that already work for men. "Use shorter sentences so your breaths in between aren't as long, making it harder to interrupt, and speak with conviction using words like 'know' instead of 'believe' and 'will' instead of 'might.'"

  • Lean in and make eye contact. Shore cites Carol Kennedy and Carl Camden's study "Interruptions and Nonverbal Gender Differences," which found men tend to interrupt women more often when they lean away or don't look at the person they're talking to.

  • Go by the buddy system. It may rankle and smacks of sexism, but Bennett says a tried-and-true way of preventing interruptions is for a woman to buddy up with a friend - preferably a dude - for business talks. "Ask him to nod and look interested when you speak (when he's interested, of course). Let him back you up publicly in meetings. Seriously, try it. It's not fair, no. But dammit, it works."

  • Practice assertive body language. Other suggestions from Bennett include sitting at the table, pointing to someone, standing up or walking to the front of the room while you speak. Not only do these "high power poses" make a speaker appear more authoritative, but they actually increase your testosterone levels – and thus, your confidence. In some cases, it may actually help to literally "lean in"; in one study, researchers found that men physically lean in more often than women in professional meetings, making them less likely to be interrupted. 

  • Claim your own voice. You'll undermine your own authority if you start pitches with sentences like, "I'm not sure if this is right, but." Instead, speak authoritatively and avoid the baby voice. Most importantly, don't open your remarks with any type of apology. 

Along with practicing not being interrupted yourself, it's good form to work on ways not to be the interruptor. After all, the 2014 George Washington University study did indicate that even women interrupted female conversation partners more often than they did men. And either gender can promote a free-flowing exchange of ideas that rewards speakers of both genders. recommends these tactics:

  • Think twice before you break into the conversation. Consider if you are interrupting to become the speaker and gain power, and also how you'll look to everyone else in the room.
  • If you determine you're interrupting to gain clarity, make sure you break in with a clear question and then turn the floor back to the original speaker.
  • If you determine you're interrupting because you're worried you'll forget what you want to say, jot key words on your notepad to bring up your points later, without interrupting.

Finally, be sure you're not interrupting yourself with digital distractions. According to Tom Searcy, Founder of Hunt Big Sales, you can also flounder in idea creation and presentation by allowing too many text, phone and social media interruptions during "think time" at work. "There is not sense in creating the physical and mental space for thought while still allowing ongoing digital interruptions," he wrote in "Set yourself up to win. Shut down the digital access. Even if you are working on your laptop, shut down the feeds of streaming interruptions for that period."

7 steps to transition from a 9-to-5 to a full-fledged entrepreneur

Published: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 @ 9:14 AM
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 @ 9:14 AM

Experts recommend these 7 strategies for transitioning into being an entrepreneur while you still have a day job Stop viewing your job as a ball and chain Study business management Prioritize your time Zone in on your vision for the future Focus on daily imperative action Establish a routine of healthy habits Keep your friends and family

Becoming an entrepreneur is the stuff dreams are made of: making your first million, delivering the world's next big idea, starting that sweet little shop, being your own boss. But if your stone cold reality is a 9-to-5 job, you can still make the entrepreneur dream come true. 
The strategy: transitioning into being an entrepreneur while you still have full-time work.
"Very few companies that enjoy incredible success today were started by people who had no other commitments," noted Brandon Turner in Entrepreneur. "Instead, they were built in basements and garages, and while the founder was employed at another company."

RELATED: 7 ways women can avoid being ‘manterrupted’ at work

According to the Kaufman Organization's 2017 State of Entrepreneurship report, the outlook is bright for entreprenuers. "Overall entrepreneurial outcome indicators have gone up, job creation by new establishment is on an uptick and optimism among small business owners has surged."

Turner, co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast, and other startup experts recommend these seven strategies for transitioning into being an entreprenuer while you still have a day job:

Stop viewing your job as a ball and chain. Instead, consider the full-time job you have while you're transitioning to being an entrepreneur a blessing. "Your job is the gasoline that will keep your entrepreneurial dreams alive while you are building your side project," Turner said. "Without that paycheck, you'll be out there spending all your time trying to raise money rather than spending your time perfecting your business. So stop thinking of your job as something that is dragging you down, but as a partner that is holding you up until the time is right to leave." 

Study business management. Even if your passion is textile design or that one widget that could make a fortune, if you plan to be an entrepreneur, you will need to know business basics. "No matter what you choose to do, you will be managing a business first and whatever the business does second," noted career coach Rob Gillies on

Prioritize your time. Turner calls attention to the total 168 hours in a week. 

"Your job takes up 40, your sleep takes up 56, and you are still left with 72 hours to build your business," he said. "You need sleep. You need food. You have kids. However, you don't need Netflix. You don't need CNN. You don't need the two hours and 57 minutes per day you spend staring at your smartphone." 

A few ways to maximize your time include possibly waking up earlier or eating fewer meals in restaurants and more from the microwave or slow cooker.

Zone in on your vision for the future. According to executive coach Linda Townsend, you can readily establish your startup mission long before you turn in your notice at your full-time job. Start by asking yourself big-picture questions such as, "What contribution do I want to make to the world or to my business?" Townsend told Next steps include making a list of your role models and the characteristics in them that you most admire; listing your core values and definition of success; and turning these insights into a personal mission statement.

Focus on daily imperative action. Whether you're working 9-to-5 or have unlimited free time to pursue your startup, locking yourself in a room for a month and emerging with a multi-million one-hit-wonder is not the way a business gets built, according to Turner. "It's not enough to just work hard. It's not enough to work hard every day. It needs to be imperative work, done daily,” he said. The work can't consist of non-urgent or unimportant tasks like checking e-mails or yet more phone calls to share the same ideas with people who aren't stakeholders. "You only have so many hours to work on your side business outside of your job hours, so you better make them count," Turner noted.

Establish a routine of healthy habits. According to Townsend, some simple self-care habits are essential if you hope to survive the demands of becoming an entreprenuer: get 8 hours of sleep each night, exercise for 20 minutes each day, do something creative or fun each day and connect with the people you care about.

Keep your friends and family. Instead of figuring you can devote 100 percent of your time to becoming an entrepreneur and worry about the personal relationships you leave behind later, have a plan for personal time, too, says Gillies. "You don't have to give up your life in order to build a business," he said. "You'll need to have support of your family, friends, spouse and children. Create a schedule that includes them and work diligently to stick to it. Doing so in the beginning will create the foundation for the future of how you operate."

Uber isn't everything: 7 other lucrative part-time side gigs 

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 11:14 AM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 11:14 AM

Uber isn't the only option for making extra money Become a notary public Start dog walking and pet sitting Be a modern-day disc jockey Or a freelance personal chef Clean garages and attics Be a computer tutor Or a picture framer

Uber is usually the first side hustle mentioned when talk turns to part-time jobs for people who already have full-time work. 

It does offer flexible earning power, especially if you live in an area with lots of nightlife and own a car that qualifies. But Uber isn't the only option for making extra money working around your full-time commitments. 

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These part-time businesses are recommended for people who already have a full-time job and want to make extra money or start getting established as an entrepreneur:

Become a notary public: Each state has different requirements, but notary publics are always independent contractors who earn money by handling mortgage signings, notarizing trust documents and performing many other tasks. This part-time money maker offers the advantage of adding another skill to your resume or enhancing your current job qualifications. It's also a good side hustle for weekends and evenings, when typical notary publics may not be available. You'll need state certification, which will probably cost less than $100. Visit the National Notary Association to learn more about how to become a notary in your state.

Dog walking and pet sitting: If you're good with animals, you may have a head start on a part-time pet sitting business. Drawing from friends and neighbors is a good way to grow your business and you can increase your rates a bit once you're established. If you can't commit to boarding animals in your home or staying overnight with other people's pets, consider a dog-walking or waste clean-up business. Get more business quickly by registering with a service like, which links pet owners with sitters and dog walkers (after you pass a background check and provide references).

Modern-day disc jockey: ‪Event entertainment is in high demand, providing dance music for weddings, birthdays and bar mitzvahs and background tunes for more casual events. This is the ideal side hustle for people who already have an organized music collection, mixing software and a "have laptop, will travel" mentality. While full-fledged disc jockey equipment can be pricey, you can rent speakers, subwoofers and other bells and whistles until your business can justify purchasing your own.

Freelance personal chef: Cook meals for new moms, working parents or people who want to enjoy their weekends off. According to Entrepreneur, there's lots of demand for personal chefs.

Garage and attic cleaning: You might find doing someone else's dirty work can actually be fun. Along with the base fee, you may earn more by finding saleable treasures among the giveaways or bottles and cans you can recycle for profit. The only possible deal breaker: you'll have to acquire a truck if you don't already own one (they're typically too expensive to rent when you're trying to turn a profit).

Computer tutor makes a profitable part-time business since many people can't afford or don't understand software manuals.(Contributed by Pressmaster/Shutterstock/For the AJC)

Computer tutor: Whether you're an expert at programs from Windows and Linux or just really good at desktop publishing or work processing, you can earn money helping people improve their computer skills. Technical manuals are often expensive and hard for average computer users to understand. Business News Daily recommends charging by the hour for complete tutorials or holding short classes for small groups at a business.

Picture framer: If you're crafty but not necessarily a framing expert, read up or take a non-credit course at a local college. Then work with gallery owners, print shops, artists, photographers and portrait painters to build a client list. You'll need tools (but you can rent the saws and miter boxes at a home store to start).