SAN DIEGO, Feb. 7, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has achieved its twenty-fifth Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI(r)) Level 5 rating, the highest possible rating for benchmarking commercial and defense industry best practices for management and engineering. Northrop Grumman has earned more CMMI Level 5 ratings than any other defense or commercial company to date. This rating assures Northrop Grumman customers that the company is providing improved quality, greater productivity, and predictable program performance.

The most recent CMMI Level 5 rating was achieved by the Defense Mission Systems division, part of Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector. The rating was achieved after a comprehensive assessment of nine programs from five division locations: Dahlgren and McLean, Va.; Conshohocken, Pa.; San Diego; and Winter Park, Fla. Multi-Dimensional Maturity, an external consulting organization independent of Northrop Grumman, conducted the appraisal in accordance with the formal Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI(tm)) methodology.

"Having nine new projects across five geographic locations appraised at CMMI Level 5 clearly shows the benefit of the CMMI model and the use of common organizational processes to ensure predictability and performance improvement," said Dario DeAngelis, division director of strategy, technology and quality for Defense Mission Systems. "We expect our projects and personnel to be fully compliant with all of the CMMI processes, and we regularly schedule SCAMPIs to demonstrate our level of compliance and identify areas of improvement. This reinforces our customers' confidence that they can count on us to deliver quality, timely and cost-effective solutions."

"As a disciplined systems integrator it is our responsibility to use the organizational processes we propose at project start-up and throughout the life-cycle," said Barry Rhine, vice president and general manager of Defense Mission Systems. "The result of the appraisal demonstrates our ability to follow through on the commitments we make to our customers."

"Management-demonstrated commitment to the Software Engineering Institute CMMI Maturity Level 5 helped to ensure this success," said Dr. Richard Waina, external lead appraiser from Multi-Dimensional Maturity. "All levels of the organization are involved and focused on continuous improvement. Every individual's commitment to process discipline and improvement was quite evident. Defense Mission Systems has done an excellent job integrating its ISO, Six Sigma and CMMI efforts."

The Software Engineering Institute 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 Institute's core purpose is to help others make measured improvements in their software engineering capabilities.

The CMMI 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 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 span areas such as strategic systems, including ICBMs; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; command and control; technical services; and training.

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