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News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

Aon plc (NYSE: AON) today reported results for the three months ended March 31, 2017. Net income attributable to Aon shareholders was $291 million, or $1.09 per share, compared to $325 million, or $1.19 per share, in the prior year period. Net income per share attributable to Aon shareholders, adjusted for certain items, increased 17% to $1.63, compared to $1.39 in the prior year period. Net income from continuing operations was $265 million, or $0.94 per share, compared to $312 million, or $1.10 per share, in the prior year period.  Net income per share from continuing operations, adjusted for certain items, increased 20% to $1.45, compared to $1.21 in the prior year period. Certain items that impacted first quarter results and comparisons with the prior year period are detailed in the "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures - Operating Income and Diluted Earnings per Share" on page 10 of this press release. "Our first quarter results reflect a strong start to the year driven by investments in our client-serving capabilities and operating model.  Organic growth of 4% is the strongest start to the year since 2012, adjusted operating margins expanded by 220 basis points, and earnings per share from continuing operations increased 20% driven by effective operational and capital management," said Greg Case, President and Chief Executive Officer.  "With the recently completed divestiture of our outsourcing platform, we have taken another meaningful step in a decade long strategy that has produced exceptional results for clients and shareholders.  As a leading global professional services firm, we are operating from a position of strength.  With strong free cash flow generation and roughly $3 billion of incremental transaction proceeds, we have significant financial flexibility to invest in high-growth high-margin areas across our industry-leading portfolio, invest in our operating model and to return capital to shareholders." The first quarter financial results discussed herein represent performance from continuing operations unless otherwise noted. Total revenue in the first quarter increased 5% to $2.4 billion, compared to the prior year period driven primarily by 4% organic revenue growth in commissions and fees and 3% increase in commissions and fees related to acquisitions, net of divestitures, partially offset by a 2% unfavorable impact from foreign currency translation. Total operating expenses increased 10% to $2.0 billion compared to the prior year period due primarily to $144 million of restructuring costs, a $60 million increase in operating expenses related to acquisitions, net of divestitures, and an increase in expense to support 4% organic revenue growth, partially offset by a $42 million favorable impact from currency translation, a $12 million decrease in expense related to certain hedging programs, and $11 million of savings related to restructuring activities and operational initiatives. Restructuring expenses were $144 million primarily driven by workforce reductions. The Company expects to invest $900 million in total cash over a three-year period, excluding $50 million of non-cash charges, in driving one operating model across the firm. This includes an estimated investment of $700 million of cash restructuring charges and $200 million of capital expenditures. To date, the Company has incurred 19% of the total estimated restructuring charges. An analysis of restructuring-related costs by type is detailed on page 13 of this press release. Restructuring savings in the first quarter related to restructuring activities and other operational initiatives are estimated at $11 million. Before any potential reinvestment of savings, restructuring activities and other operational initiatives are expected to deliver run-rate savings of $400 million annually by the end of 2019.  To date, the Company has achieved 3% of the total estimated restructuring related savings. Foreign currency exchange rates in the first quarter had an immaterial impact per share, or $1 million pretax unfavorable impact on U.S. GAAP net income, and a $0.01 per share, or $3 million pretax, unfavorable impact on adjusted net income if the Company were to translate prior year quarter results at current quarter foreign exchange rates. Effective tax rate used in the U.S. GAAP financial statements in the first quarter was 0.1%, compared to the prior year quarter of 15.9%.  After adjusting to exclude the applicable tax impact associated with intangible asset amortization, restructuring charges and anticipated non-cash pension settlements in the fourth quarter, the adjusted effective tax rate for the first quarter of 2017 was 11.1% compared to 15.7% in the prior year quarter, primarily due to a $29 million, or $0.11 per share benefit from the required change in accounting for share-based compensation. The new guidance for share-based compensation requires all excess tax benefits and tax deficiencies to be recognized as income tax expense or benefit in the income statement and treated as discrete items in the reporting period. These adjustments are discussed in "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures - Operating Income and Diluted Earnings per Share" on page 10 of this press release. Average diluted shares outstanding decreased to 267.0 million in the first quarter compared to 273.7 million in the prior year quarter. The Company repurchased 1.1 million Class A Ordinary Shares for approximately $125 million in the quarter.  As of March 31, 2017, the Company had $7.7 billion of remaining authorization under its share repurchase program. Cash flow from operations for the first three months of 2017 increased 26%, or $38 million, to $182 million compared to the prior year period, primarily driven by operational improvement, partially offset by $31 million of cash restructuring charges. Free cash flow, defined as cash flow from operations less capital expenditures, increased 38%, or $41 million, to $148 million for the first three months of 2017 compared to the prior year period, reflecting growth in cash flow from operations and a $3 million decrease in capital expenditures.  A reconciliation of free cash flow to cash flow from operations can be found in "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures - Organic Revenue and Free Cash Flow" on page 9 of this press release. The first quarter revenue reviews provided below include supplemental information related to organic revenue, which is described in detail in "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures - Organic Revenue and Free Cash Flow" on page 9 of this press release. A description of the businesses included in each of the revenue lines below is included in the Appendix of the earnings conference call presentation slides. Total organic revenue increased 4% compared to the prior year period primarily driven by strong growth in Health Solutions and Data & Analytic Services. Commercial Risk Solutions organic revenue increased 2% compared to the prior year period driven by solid growth across the U.S., EMEA, Asia, and Pacific regions, partially offset by a decline in Latin America. Reinsurance Solutions organic revenue increased 2% compared to the prior year period driven by growth across every product line, including treaty, facultative, and capital markets, partially offset by a modest unfavorable market impact globally. Retirement Solutions organic revenue increased 3% compared to the prior year period driven by continued growth in investment consulting, primarily for delegated investment management, as well as growth in talent, primarily for compensation and engagement services. Health Solutions organic revenue increased 14% compared to the prior year period driven by solid growth globally in health & benefits brokerage, including double-digit growth across Asia and EMEA, as well as double-digit growth in health care exchanges driven by follow-on enrollments on the retiree exchange and certain project-related work. Data & Analytic Services organic revenue increased 5% compared to the prior year period driven by strong growth across Affinity, with particular strength in the U.S. across all product lines. Compensation and benefits expense increased 9%, or $116 million, compared to the prior year period due primarily to $103 million of restructuring costs, a $38 million increase in operating expenses related to acquisitions, net of divestitures, and an increase in expense associated with 4% organic revenue growth, partially offset by a $29 million favorable impact from currency translation, a $12 million decrease in expense related to certain hedging programs resulting from actions undertaken in consideration of reduced ongoing transactional exposure to the Indian Rupee, and $6 million of savings related to restructuring activities and operational initiatives. Information technology expense increased 6%, or $5 million, compared to the prior year period due primarily to $3 million of restructuring costs, as well as other infrastructure investments, partially offset by $5 million of savings related to restructuring activities and operational initiatives. Premises expense increased 2%, or $2 million, compared to the prior year period due primarily to $3 million of restructuring costs. Depreciation of fixed assets expense increased 42%, or $16 million, compared to the prior year period primarily due to $13 million restructuring costs related to of fixed asset write-offs. Amortization of intangible assets expense increased 16%, or $6 million, compared to the prior year period primarily due to an increase in intangible asset amortization from previous acquisitions. Other general expenses increased 14%, or $37 million, compared to the prior year period due primarily to $22 million of restructuring costs and a $13 million increase in operating expenses related to acquisitions, net of divestitures. Certain noteworthy items impacted operating income and operating margins in the first quarters of 2017 and 2016.  The first quarter information provided below includes supplemental information related to adjusted operating income and adjusted operating margin, which is described in detail in "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures - Operating Income and Diluted Earnings per Share" on page 10 of this press release. Operating income decreased $77 million, or 18%, compared to the prior year period. Adjusting for certain items detailed on page 10 of this press release, operating income increased 16%, or $73 million, and operating margin increased 220 basis points to 22.3%, each compared to the prior year period. The increase in adjusted operating margin was primarily driven by strong organic revenue growth, return on investments across the portfolio, and $11 million of savings related to restructuring activities and operational initiatives, as well as $12 million, or +50 basis points, favorable impact from reduced expenses related to certain hedging programs, and a +30 basis point favorable impact from foreign currency translation. Interest income was flat at $2 million compared to the prior year period.  Interest expense increased $1 million to $70 million compared to the prior year period driven by a modest increase in total debt outstanding. Other expense of $10 million primarily includes losses related to the unfavorable impact of exchange rates on the remeasurement of assets and liabilities in non-functional currencies. Other income of $18 million in the prior year period primarily includes gains related to the favorable impact of exchange rates on the remeasurement of assets and liabilities in non-functional currencies. Net income from discontinued operations was $40 million, or $0.15 per share, compared to $25 million, or $0.09 per share, in the prior year period.  Net income per share from discontinued operations, adjusted for certain items, was $48 million, or $0.18 per share, similar to the prior year period. Certain items that impacted first quarter results and comparisons with the prior year period are detailed in "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures - Operating Income and Diluted Earnings per Share" on page 10 of this press release. Conference Call, Presentation Slides and Webcast Details The Company will host a conference call on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 7:30 a.m., central time.  Interested parties can listen to the conference call via a live audio webcast and view the presentation slides at www.aon.com. About Aon (NYSE: AON) Aon is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance. Safe Harbor Statement This communication contains certain statements related to future results, or states our intentions, beliefs and expectations or predictions for the future which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from either historical or anticipated results depending on a variety of factors. These forward-looking statements include information about possible or assumed future results of our operations. All statements, other than statements of historical facts that address activities, events or developments that we expect or anticipate may occur in the future, including such things as our outlook, future capital expenditures, growth in commissions and fees, changes to the composition or level of our revenues, cash flow and liquidity, expected tax rates, business strategies, competitive strengths, goals, the benefits of new initiatives, growth of our business and operations, plans and references to future successes, are forward-looking statements. Also, when we use the words such as "anticipate", "believe", "estimate", "expect", "intend", "plan", "probably", "potential", "looking forward", or similar expressions, we are making forward-looking statements. The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward looking statements:  general economic and political conditions in different countries in which Aon does business around the world; changes in the competitive environment; fluctuations in exchange and interest rates, including negative yields in some jurisdictions, that could influence revenue and expense; changes in global equity and fixed income markets that could affect the return on invested assets; changes in the funding status of Aon's various defined benefit pension plans and the impact of any increased pension funding resulting from those changes; the level of Aon's debt limiting financial flexibility; rating agency actions that could affect Aon's ability to borrow funds; the effect of the change in global headquarters and jurisdiction of incorporation, including differences in the anticipated benefits; changes in estimates or assumptions on our financial statements; limits on Aon's subsidiaries to make dividend and other payments to Aon; the impact of lawsuits and other contingent liabilities and loss contingencies arising from errors and omissions and other claims against Aon; the impact of, and potential challenges in complying with, legislation and regulation in the jurisdictions in which Aon operates, particularly given the global scope of Aon's businesses and the possibility of conflicting regulatory requirements across jurisdictions in which Aon does business; the impact of any investigations brought by regulatory authorities in the U.S., U.K. and other countries; the impact of any inquiries relating to compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and non-U.S. anti-corruption laws and with U.S. and non-U.S. trade sanctions regimes; failure to protect intellectual property rights or allegations that we infringe on the intellectual property rights of others; the effects of English law on our operating flexibility and the enforcement of judgments against Aon; the failure to retain and attract qualified personnel; international risks associated with Aon's global operations; the effect of natural or man-made disasters; the potential of a system or network breach or disruption resulting in operational interruption or improper disclosure of personal data; Aon's ability to develop and implement new technology; damage to our reputation among clients, markets or third parties; the actions taken by third parties that preform aspects of our business operations and client services; the extent to which Aon manages risks associated with the various services, including fiduciary and investments and other advisory services and business process outsourcing services, among others, that Aon provides or will provide to clients; Aon's ability to grow, develop and integrate companies or new lines of business that it acquires; changes in commercial property and casualty markets, commercial premium rates or methods of compensation; changes in the health care system or our relationships with insurance carriers; and Aon's ability to implement initiatives intended to yield cost savings, and the ability to achieve those cost savings. Any or all of Aon's forward-looking statements may turn out to be inaccurate, and there are no guarantees about Aon's performance.  The factors identified above are not exhaustive.  Aon and its subsidiaries operate in a dynamic business environment in which new risks may emerge frequently.  Further information concerning Aon and its businesses, including factors that potentially could materially affect Aon's financial results, is contained in Aon's filings with the SEC. See Aon's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 for a further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties applicable to Aon's businesses. These factors may be revised or supplemented in subsequent reports.  Aon is under no obligation, and expressly disclaims any obligation, to update or alter any forward-looking statement that it may make from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Explanation of Non-GAAP Measures This communication includes supplemental information related to organic revenue, free cash flow, adjusted operating margin, and adjusted earnings per share that exclude the effects of intangible asset amortization, capital expenditures, and certain other noteworthy items that affected results for the comparable periods.   Organic revenue includes the impact of intersegment and intrasegment activity and excludes the impact of foreign exchange rate changes, acquisitions, divestitures, transfers between business units, fiduciary investment income, and reimbursable expenses.  The impact of foreign exchange is determined by translating last year's revenue, expense or net income at this year's foreign exchange rates.  Reconciliations are provided in the attached appendices.  Supplemental organic revenue information and additional measures that exclude the effects of certain items noted above that do not affect net income or any other GAAP reported amounts.  Free cash flow is cash flow from operating activity less capital expenditures. Management believes that these measures are important to make meaningful period-to-period comparisons and that this supplemental information is helpful to investors.  They should be viewed in addition to, not in lieu of, the Company's Consolidated Financial Statements.  Industry peers provide similar supplemental information regarding their performance, although they may not make identical adjustments. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aon-reports-first-quarter-2017-results-300453619.html


News Article | May 16, 2017
Site: www.techrepublic.com

In this report, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services highlights a number of trigger points that will drive 70% of organizations to make the switch to cloud-based finance systems within the next 24 months, including: Significant business growth or expansion Compliance mandates such as the new revenue recognition standards from FASB and IASB A new CFO or CEO pushing for a big increase in the performance of the finance function Imminent “end-of-life” or “end-of-support” for existing systems The likelihood of major upgrade, maintenance, or support costs for existing systems Sign up now to learn how your finance team can become a better partner to the business.


News Article | May 16, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Scout RFP, a leader in the cloud-based strategic e-sourcing space, is pleased to introduce a new procurement industry resource created by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. The new research paper explores the critical role that sourcing, procurement, and supply chain management play in enterprise success. It includes insights from leaders at Accenture, Adobe, Bradken Limited, Deloitte, Intuit, Levi Strauss & Co., Owens Corning, Uber, and VSP Global. Click here to download the research. Today’s high-performing procurement teams have evolved into an essential contributor to enterprise revenue success. To maximize potential, the enterprise must embrace solutions that enable visibility, collaboration, and automation across sourcing processes. Fortunately, cloud platforms have evolved to facilitate the optimization of supplier and stakeholder relationships, allowing the enterprise to drive better outcomes. “Sourcing is something that’s almost entirely within our control. Not only are we delivering a prize in the form of substantial added value to the business, we can chase that prize at our own pace,” Paul Zuckerman, CEO of Bradken, says in the report. “Inflection points don’t usually look inspirational at first glance, but leveraging the familiar is what we did to reinvent ourselves and it paid off.” The report focuses on the enterprise-wide benefits that truly strategic sourcing provides. “Digital disruption has meant that enterprises now have to optimize performance across all areas of the business to stay competitive,” said Scout RFP’s CEO Alex Yakubovich. “High-performing companies are solving business problems and improving speed to market, so much so that companies that focus on strategic sourcing enjoy not just enhanced profitability, but a range of positive results including improved cash and working-capital performance.” Strategic sourcing improves outcomes across the business. Among its many benefits, it bridges the gap between businesses and their suppliers, drives efficiencies, helps businesses pursue proven processes from an enterprise perspective, solves business problems, improves speed to market, encourages constructive competition, manages supplier-related risk, and ensures compliance. “It’s not just about cost savings—which was the traditional mindset of the procurement function,” Neil Aronson, head of global strategic sourcing at the San Francisco-based online transportation network firm Uber Technologies Inc., says in the report. “It’s about continually improving and re-evaluating how we’re buying to make sure we’re getting the best outcomes. The sourcing function brings a rigorous process to bear to drive value beyond cost savings.” Scout, also known as Scout RFP, provides a new breed of cloud-based strategic sourcing solutions that help organizations achieve better outcomes and make a bigger impact. Leading brands like Intuit, CEMEX, Splunk, Jo-Ann Stores, ServiceNow, Cerner Corporation, EasyJet, and Zebra Technologies trust Scout’s automated sourcing and auction platform to deliver greater value through collaborative business engagement. 26,000 active users across 89 countries have chosen Scout’s simple, effective interface to streamline supplier selection, centralize data, and make more informed purchasing decisions, faster. Scout is headquartered in San Francisco, and funded by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and GV (formerly Google Ventures). To learn more, please visit scoutrfp.com and follow us on Twitter @scoutrfp or LinkedIn.


News Article | May 24, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Scout RFP, a leader in cloud-based strategic e-sourcing solutions, announced today that it has been named one of Gartner’s 2017 “Cool Vendors” in Procurement and Sourcing Technology.1 The report identifies interesting, new and innovative vendors, products and services. It also explores key findings and recommendations for procurement and IT leaders to keep their businesses compliant and operating at peak performance. A complimentary copy of Gartner’s report can be found here. The Gartner report recognizes “vendors delighting customers with innovation and positive business impacts.” Gartner goes on to share, the technology solutions of the evaluated “vendors bring a refreshingly new, disruptive approach to solving age-old problems in the procurement and sourcing domain.”1 Scout’s cloud-based eSourcing platform enables companies to streamline supplier selection, centralize data, and make faster, more informed purchasing decisions. Its strategic sourcing, pipeline, intake, and eAuction tools help procurement professionals source fast and make a bigger business impact. “We are thrilled to receive the Cool Vendor recognition from Gartner and feel it validates our vision,” said Scout RFP CEO Alex Yakubovich. “Over the last 17 months, we’ve experienced rapid growth and are excited that our customers’ feedback matches Gartner’s assessment. Scout has been deployed globally by some of the world’s leading enterprises and our sourcing platform is enabling the enterprise to execute truly strategic sourcing.” Scout’s inclusion on Gartner’s Cool Vendors list follows the release of its HBR Analytic Services procurement industry research, which explores the critical roles that sourcing, procurement, and supply chain management play in enterprise success. The new research paper includes insights from leaders at Accenture, Adobe, Bradken Limited, Deloitte, Intuit, Levi Strauss & Co., Owens Corning, Uber, and VSP Global. Click here to access Gartner’s 2017 Cool Vendors in Procurement and Sourcing Technology report. For more information on Scout RFP, visit www.scoutrfp.com or watch the product overview video. 1 Gartner, Cool Vendors in Procurement and Sourcing Technology, 2017, Desere Edwards, Deborah R Wilson, Magnus Bergfors, May 15, 2017 Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Scout, also known as Scout RFP, provides a new breed of cloud-based strategic sourcing solutions that help organizations achieve better outcomes and make a bigger impact. Leading brands like Intuit, CEMEX, Splunk, Jo-Ann Stores, ServiceNow, Cerner Corporation, EasyJet, and Zebra Technologies trust Scout’s automated sourcing and auction platform to deliver greater value through collaborative business engagement. 27,000 active users across 89 countries have chosen Scout’s simple, effective interface to streamline supplier selection, centralize data, and make more informed purchasing decisions, faster. Scout is headquartered in San Francisco, and funded by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and GV (formerly Google Ventures). To learn more, please visit scoutrfp.com and follow us on Twitter @scoutrfp or LinkedIn.


Digital transformation is a term being bandied about by the press, business experts, and enterprise gurus. The constant drumbeat on the topic may lead you to believe it is just another empty marketing gimmick used to sell books and pad keynote addresses. But you would be wrong to think that way. Digital transformation is not a new concept, and in many ways, it has been occurring in fits and starts for years now. The personal computer, fax machine, email, and the internet were all digital transformation catalysts. Digital transformation does not really have an end—it is a continuous process—and it is the evolution of technology and its application to our lives. The current digital transformation everyone is talking about now has disrupted, or soon will disrupt, how every business enterprise and every transaction works. But you don't have to take my word for it. Just look at the results of a recent survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, in which 80% of the respondents believe their industry will be disrupted by digital trends. The seeming inevitability of widespread digital transformation in business enterprises is why Microsoft has deployed a strategy to capitalize on the trend. By providing tools in Office 365, Windows 10, and Azure that make the transformation less disruptive and more organic to the organization, Microsoft believes it can offer paths to change that many of their competitors can't. The name of the HBR survey is Competing in 2020: Winners and Losers in the Digital Economy (PDF). It was conducted by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and was sponsored by Microsoft, which is one reason why the results figure so prominently in the company's business strategies. The digital transformation on the minds of the survey respondents this time involves the way businesses interact with customers. Technology has moved the relationship with customers beyond the transaction level. Successful companies must know their customers, must anticipate what motivates them, and must converse with them on a regular basis in authentic ways that don't come across as forced and fake. This is complicated, somewhat messy, and can be dangerous when mistakes are made. According to the survey, the majority of the 783 respondents say achieving exceptional customer experience is their highest current digital priority at the moment. Through technology, enterprises must be able to achieve authentic two-way communication with customers. Not achieving that goal will put your enterprise at a disadvantage, one that you may not be able to overcome once you get behind the curve. Customer relationships are going through a major shift in technology, and your enterprise better get with the program. With digital tools like social media and mobile apps, customers expect to have a real relationship with the businesses they deal with. If your company is still using junk mail and phone calls to "relate" to customers, you are in deep trouble. Microsoft has been preaching the benefits of cooperation, collaboration, and digital conversation for years now. By leveraging technologies built into Windows 10, Office 365, and Azure, Microsoft believes it has the tools to make conversing and engaging with customers a reality for your enterprise. It will take a heck of a lot of effort, and will likely require a huge cultural change for most organizations, but it can—and must—be done. Just like with the advent of the computer, the fax machine, and the internet, the digital times are a-changing. It's time to accept it, embrace it, and make the transition in your enterprise. You don't have to partner with Microsoft to do it, but you need to get it done somehow, some way. When it comes to customer interaction, has your enterprise started its digital transformation? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.


LeardMann C.A.,Naval Health Research Center | Powell T.M.,Naval Health Research Center | Smith T.C.,Naval Health Research Center | Smith T.C.,University of San Diego | And 8 more authors.
JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association | Year: 2013

IMPORTANCE: Beginning in 2005, the incidence of suicide deaths in the US military began to sharply increase. Unique stressors, such as combat deployments, have been assumed to underlie the increasing incidence. Previous military suicide studies, however, have relied on case series and cross-sectional investigations and have not linked data during service with postservice periods. OBJECTIVE: To prospectively identify and quantify risk factors associated with suicide in current and former US military personnel including demographic, military, mental health, behavioral, and deployment characteristics. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Prospective longitudinal study with accrual and assessment of participants in 2001, 2004, and 2007. Questionnaire data were linked with the National Death Index and the Department of Defense Medical Mortality Registry through December 31, 2008. Participants were current and former US military personnel from all service branches, including active and Reserve/National Guard, who were included in the Millennium Cohort Study (N = 151 560). MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Death by suicide captured by the National Death Index and the Department of Defense Medical Mortality Registry. RESULTS: Through the end of 2008, findings were 83 suicides in 707 493 person-years of follow-up (11.73/100 000 person-years [95% CI, 9.21-14.26]). In Cox models adjusted for age and sex, factors significantly associated with increased risk of suicide included male sex, depression, manic-depressive disorder, heavy or binge drinking, and alcohol-related problems. None of the deployment-related factors (combat experience, cumulative days deployed, or number of deployments) were associated with increased suicide risk in any of the models. In multivariable Cox models, individuals with increased risk for suicide were men (hazard ratio [HR], 2.14; 95% CI, 1.17-3.92; P = .01; attributable risk [AR], 3.5 cases/10 000 persons), and those with depression (HR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.05-3.64; P = .03; AR, 6.9/10 000 persons), manic-depressive disorder (HR, 4.35; 95% CI, 1.56-12.09; P = .005; AR, 35.6/10 000 persons), or alcohol-related problems (HR, 2.56; 95% CI, 1.56-4.18; P <.001; AR, 7.7/10 000 persons). A nested, matched case-control analysis using 20:1 control participants per case confirmed these findings. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this sample of current and former military personnel observed July 1, 2001-December 31, 2008, suicide risk was independently associated with male sex and mental disorders but not with military-specific variables. These findings may inform approaches to mitigating suicide risk in this population.


Leblanc J.,Johns Hopkins University | Leblanc J.,Analytic Services Inc. | Weil J.,Johns Hopkins University | Beemon K.,Johns Hopkins University
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: RNA | Year: 2013

After reverse transcription of the retroviral RNA genome and integration of the DNA provirus into the host genome, host machinery is used for viral gene expression along with viral proteins and RNA regulatory elements. Here, we discuss co-transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation of retroviral gene expression, comparing simple and complex retroviruses. Cellular RNA polymerase II synthesizes full-length viral primary RNA transcripts that are capped and polyadenylated. All retroviruses generate a singly spliced env mRNA from this primary transcript, which encodes the viral glycoproteins. In addition, complex viral RNAs are alternatively spliced to generate accessory proteins, such as Rev, which is involved in posttranscriptional regulation of HIV-1 RNA. Importantly, the splicing of all retroviruses is incomplete; they must maintain and export a fraction of their primary RNA transcripts. This unspliced RNA functions both as the major mRNA for Gag and Pol proteins and as the packaged genomic RNA. Different retroviruses export their unspliced viral RNA from the nucleus to the cytoplasm by either Tap-dependent or Rev/CRM1-dependent routes. Translation of the unspliced mRNA involves frame-shifting or termination codon suppression so that the Gag proteins, which make up the capsid, are expressed more abundantly than the Pol proteins, which are the viral enzymes. After the viral polyproteins assemble into viral particles and bud from the cell membrane, a viral encoded protease cleaves them. Some retroviruses have evolved mechanisms to protect their unspliced RNA from decay by nonsense-mediated RNA decay and to prevent genome editing by the cellular APOBEC deaminases. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Gursky E.A.,Analytic Services Inc. | Bice G.,Analytic Services Inc.
Biosecurity and Bioterrorism | Year: 2012

September 11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks marked the beginning of significant investment by the federal government to develop a national public health emergency response capability. Recognizing the importance of the public health sector's contribution to the burgeoning homeland security enterprise, this investment was intended to convey a "dual benefit" by strengthening the overall public health infrastructure while building preparedness capabilities. In many instances, federal funds were used successfully for preparedness activities. For example, electronic health information networks, a Strategic National Stockpile, and increased interagency cooperation have all contributed to creating a more robust and prepared enterprise. Additionally, the knowledge of rarely seen or forgotten pathogens has been regenerated through newly established public health learning consortia, which, too, have strengthened relationships between the practice and academic communities. Balancing traditional public health roles with new preparedness responsibilities heightened public health's visibility, but it also presented significant complexities, including expanded lines of reporting and unremitting inflows of new guidance documents. Currently, a rapidly diminishing public health infrastructure at the state and local levels as a result of federal budget cuts and a poor economy serve as significant barriers to sustaining these nascent federal public health preparedness efforts. Sustaining these improvements will require enhanced coordination, collaboration, and planning across the homeland security enterprise; an infusion of innovation and leadership; and sustained transformative investment for governmental public health. © 2012 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


Turner R.,Analytic Services Inc.
Space Weather | Year: 2012

In the event of a space weather event of national scope and impact, there is a structure responsible for coordinating the nation's response. The political landscape is complex, including not only federal, State and local governments, but also the public, media, academia, and the private sector. Key federal guidance documents include the Stafford Act, Homeland Security Presidential Directives and Presidential Policy Directives on national preparedness. These directives establish a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies to work together to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the impact of disasters. The recent National Preparedness directive is further emphasizing an integrated all-hazard response. The main roles of the space weather community will be to communicate, without undo hype, the potential threat posed by severe space weather events and to provide alerts, warnings, and general space situation awareness to the decision makers. It is important that the space weather community deliver a coordinated and consistent message using all available public media to appropriately communicate the risk. Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.


Turner R.E.,Analytic Services Inc.
Space Weather | Year: 2012

Numerous developments have occurred in commercial space tourism since a feature article in Space Weather first addressed the growing interest in this facet of human space flight [Turner, 2007]. © 2012. The American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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