RESTON, Va., March 14, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has achieved its seventeenth CMMI(R) Level 5, the highest possible rating for benchmarking commercial and defense industry best practices for management and engineering.

The National Security Operations business, part of Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector, attained an organization-wide CMMI-SE/SW Level 5 maturity rating against the Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI(R)) standard.

The Mission Systems sector now has 12 and Northrop Grumman has 17 CMMI(R) Level 5 ratings, the most earned by any defense or commercial company to-date. The ratings assure Northrop Grumman customers that the company is providing improved quality, greater productivity and predictable program performance.

Northrop Grumman's latest rating was awarded after a comprehensive assessment of its Landover, Md., facility. Comskil, Inc., an independent external organization, conducted the appraisal in accordance with the formal Standard CMMI(R) Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI(TM)) methodology.

"The ingredients for successfully implementing and sustaining improvements have been clearly demonstrated by the National Security Operations staff," said Ralph Williams, external lead appraiser, Comskil, Inc. "It was a privilege to see such strong senior management commitment and sponsorship to measurable improvements."

"Achieving Level 5 performance in both software and systems engineering is a tremendous accomplishment for the entire team," said Roger Holstege, director of the business area. "The achievement clearly demonstrates our ability to quantitatively manage our processes and to diagnose and resolve the root causes of any issues that arise. The result is that the National Security Operations business can deliver the very high level of value and performance our customers demand and deserve."

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. Its 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 Integrated and CMMI are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Carnegie Mellon University.

  CONTACT: 
Janis Lamar
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
(703) 345-7046
janis.lamar@ngc.com