RESTON, Va., Dec. 17, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has achieved a record-setting tenth CMMI(r) Level 5, the highest possible rating for benchmarking commercial and defense industry best practices for management and engineering.

The Government Information Technology Division, part of Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector, has attained an organization-wide Level 5 maturity rating against the Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI(r)) standard.

The achievement marks the sixth CMMI(r) Level 5 rating for the Mission Systems sector and the tenth for Northrop Grumman, the most Level 5 ratings earned by any company in the defense and information technology industries to date. Fewer than 20 companies worldwide have achieved CMMI(r) Level 5.

The rating was achieved after a comprehensive assessment conducted at the company's Reston facility, which included Government Information Technology Division sites in McLean and Merrifield, Va. Comskil, Inc., an external organization independent of Northrop Grumman, conducted the appraisal in accordance with the formal Standard CMMI(r) Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI(tm)) methodology.

"Our team's energy and dedication to quality has helped us achieve this success. By achieving Level 5, our division has demonstrated an ability to quantitatively manage our programs to produce high-quality, predictable results," said Wood Parker, vice president and general manager, Government Information Technology Division. "We celebrate this significant milestone and look forward to a continuing journey of process improvement so we remain competitive and deliver maximum value to our customers."

"The Government Information Technology Division's culture of enthusiasm and initiative truly reflects an organization at maturity Level 5," said Galina Knopman, authorized lead appraiser from Comskil, Inc. "The division's customers are benefiting from this maturity, as demonstrated by their excellent contract performance and the quality of their products. Overall, Northrop Grumman is truly the industry leader in the implementation of CMMI(r) high maturity."

Earlier this year, the Mission Systems sector's Battlefield Command and Control, Logistics Automation, Battlefield Digitization and Communications, Systems Development Operations, Data Systems Operations and Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Fire Control/Communications business areas also achieved CMMI(r) Level 5.

Northrop Grumman Information Technology's TASC, Defense Enterprise Solutions and Defense Mission Systems business units are also rated CMMI(r) Level 5. The Aerospace Systems business of Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems received a Level 5 rating for software engineering.

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. The SEI's core purpose is to help others make measured improvements in their software engineering capabilities.

The CMMI(r) standard was developed by a coalition of industry, government and the Software Engineering Institute to objectively assess the full range of an organization's software and systems engineering, program management and organizational management capabilities. There are five levels of CMMI(r) maturity, each a layer in the foundation for ongoing process improvement, designated by the numbers one through five with five being the highest. Higher maturity levels signify lower risks to successful program execution.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, based in Reston, Va., is a global integrator of complex, mission-enabling systems and services for defense, intelligence and civil government markets. The sector's technology leadership and expertise spans areas such as strategic systems, including ICBMs; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; command and control; technical services; and training.

(r) Capability Maturity Model, CMM, and CMMI are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Carnegie Mellon University.

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  CONTACT:  Janis Lamar
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          (703) 345-7046