Friday, September 14, 2012

Mental Fitness Plays Role in Physical Fitness

Mental health treatment is not just for those who are in the midst of a crisis or coping with post-traumatic stress disorder. Seeing a psychologist or behavioral health practitioner can also help you better understand and fine tune your physical performance.

Former Army psychologist, Dr. James Bender says, “A huge part of your physical performance depends on your mindset, and that’s where behavioral science comes in.” Personality types also play a role. Bender explains that, “extroverts or thrill-seeking people generally perform better when they’re more aroused while introverts tend to perform better when they’re calmer, or less aroused.” It’s important to find your personal level of mental stimulation, based on your personality and the task at hand.

To explain more about the mental aspects of human performance, Bender will conduct a live chat on Twitter from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Follow DCoE on Twitter to participate.

DOD Overseas Voting Assistance ‘Never Better,’ Official Says

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON – With less than eight weeks remaining before election day, American service members and other citizens overseas have more tools than ever available to help them register and vote, the acting director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program told Congress today.

Pamela S. Mitchell told the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel subcommittee that her staff is committed to promoting awareness of upcoming elections and removing any barriers between Americans abroad and their right to cast a ballot.

“We provide voting assistance every day, and we’ve never done it better,” Mitchell said. “Voters seeking assistance will find a myriad of resources available, including a professional call center, well-trained voting assistance officers, and an information-rich Web portal at”

The program offers assistance to service members and their relatives who are eligible to vote, as well as other Americans who are overseas for work, school or other reasons, she said.

The 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, known as the MOVE Act, established various programs to help military people, their families and other overseas citizen voters register and vote. The act required the military services to have a voting assistance office on every installation worldwide, except for those in war zones.

Mitchell said those offices are open, and the voting assistance program offers a range of training tools for the installation office staffs and for unit voting assistance officers. She noted the program also employs online and email tools to help overseas military members navigate the absentee voting process.

“We’re conducting a comprehensive communications and outreach campaign, and we established a call center that provides support by phone, by email and by online chat. The services are also actively engaged to increase awareness of the election and [of] service members’ right to vote,” she said.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program website has logged more than 8 million visits since November, Mitchell said, and the program’s staff members have dispatched 1.4 million emails five separate times since January, with at least two more mass emails scheduled to go out before the November election.

“As of 30 June, the services reported that their installation and unit voting assistance offices helped over 550,000 [people],” she noted.

The program’s staff works continuously to increase awareness among potential overseas voters, she said.

“I spent over 25 years in uniform, and I wish I’d had access to the tools that are out there today,” Mitchell said. “However, even if only one absentee service member or overseas citizen has a problem, we believe it is one too many – and there is no question that we still have work to do.”

Navy Yard Visitor's Center Completes Net Zero Project

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kiona Miller, Naval District Washington Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Support Activity (NSA) Washington recently completed its energy conservation Net Zero demonstration project at the Washington Navy Yard Visitor's Center and will be on public display, Oct. 1.

Net Zero refers to zero energy use on a net annual basis.

"This basically means the project produces as much or more energy in a year than it consumes," said Steven Miller, design project manager and architect with Public Works Department Washington. "This can apply to electrical consumption as well as water and gas consumption, although our project is focused on electrical energy and does not consume any gas."

A few of the notable changes that will allow the Visitor's Center to become Net Zero include: spray-foam and blown-in cellulose insulation, electrochromic windows, LED lighting, and a new geothermal heat-pump HVAC system. There are also Solar Panels and Micro-Wind turbines on the adjacent parking structure that tie into a cutting edge hybrid-gel battery system which can power the building in the event of a power failure.

"The project evolved from the initial concept to best suit the discoveries made during the initial building energy audit," said Miller. "It was determined at this time that a replacement of the building's HVAC system with a super-efficient geothermal heat-pump system would yield the greatest energy savings. The approved design was based around this change and has remained constant throughout implementation."

NSA Washington has garnered significant success since the Net Zero project was employed last October. According to Miller, each new technology and energy conservation method that was installed has exceeded energy reduction estimates.

"The technologies were chosen for various reasons, some performance based and some economic based," he said. "Our biggest 'bang for our buck' is coming from the geothermal system where we've seen a 70 % reduction in our energy consumption and, more importantly, a huge increase in occupant comfort."

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Honorable Ray Mabus announced in 2010 during Energy Awareness Month five energy goals for the Department of the Navy (DoN). One of those goals was to make half of all Navy installations net-zero energy consumers, using solar, wind, ocean, and geothermal power generated on base. With the Navy's newest Net Zero building at the WNY, the Navy is one step closer to achieving this goal.

In August, four installations within the region were recognized for reaching Blue Level Achievement under the SECNAV Energy and Water Management Award. The annual award evaluates Navy commands of their overall energy and water management performance, and then they are ranked according to a system of SECNAV award winners, then platinum, gold or blue level of achievement. Each installation will receive a certificate of achievement and will be listed among others in the awards ceremony program.

"Blue, Gold, and Platinum Level Achievement recognizes commands who execute comprehensive energy efficiency programs. When striving for Net Zero, energy efficiency comes first," said Miller. "Our project demonstrates innovative, cutting edge ways to reduce energy consumption which can be applied to larger buildings."

According to Capt. Branch, regional engineer for Naval District Washington, "NDW now intends to track all the actual operations and sustainment costs and compare them to other 'control facilities' of similar size and usage. We not only need to know the capital costs vs. economic return; we need to know the level of sustainment needed to keep it working."