RESTON, Va., Dec. 7, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has achieved its thirteenth CMMI(r) Level 5, the highest possible rating for benchmarking commercial and defense industry best practices for management and engineering.

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

The achievement marks the eighth CMMI(r) Level 5 rating for the Mission Systems sector and the thirteenth for Northrop Grumman, the most Level 5 ratings earned by any defense or commercial company to date.

This rating ranks Northrop Grumman within the top 10 percent of the industry and assures Northrop Grumman customers that the company is providing improved quality, greater productivity, and predictable program performance.

The rating was achieved after a comprehensive assessment conducted at the company's Fairfax, Va., facilities. 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.

"This assessment of our Intelligence Systems Operations at CMMI(r) Maturity Level 5 is further evidence of our commitment to quality and continuous process improvement," said Alan Bennett, vice president of the business area. "The process rigor we have in place is key to our business growth and profitability. This marketplace discriminator will continue to pay dividends in customer satisfaction and productivity improvement."

"The changes that this division has made transitioning from CMMI(r) Maturity Level 3 to Level 5 are significant," said Galina Knopman, external lead appraiser, Comskil, Inc, and SEI partner. "The division's understanding of quantitative management and enthusiasm for making measurable improvements contributed significantly to their rapid progress."

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 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