AURORA, Colo., May 20, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Data Systems Operations (DSO) received a Level 5 maturity rating, the highest possible, against the newest standard for benchmarking industry's best management and engineering practices.

DSO, part of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems' Command Control and Intelligence Division (C2Intel), achieved the rating against the Software Engineering Institute's (SEI) Capability Maturity Model-Integrated (CMMI) standard. With this rating C2Intel joins the top tier of Department of Defense and other federal government contractor organizations.

The battlefield digitization and communication systems business areas of Tactical Systems Division, also part of the Northrop Grumman Mission Systems sector, earned a CMMI Level 5 last month. Northrop Grumman Information Technology's Defense Enterprise Solutions unit obtained a CMMI Level 5 rating earlier this year.

"This marks a major milestone on DSO's process improvement path to ensure that we deliver maximum value to our customers. I congratulate all our employees and thank those who worked so diligently in supporting this appraisal while still serving our customers and our nation," said Pepper Fey, director Data Systems Operations.

The rating was achieved in a comprehensive assessment completed at the company's facility in Aurora. The appraisal encompassed DSO's three largest programs. Comskil, Inc., an external organization independent of Northrop Grumman, conducted the appraisal in accordance with the industry standard CMMI appraisal method.

"C2Intel is committed to continuously improving our processes and evaluating our progress by using measurable, quantitative metrics. Our Six Sigma program supports this quantitative analysis and continuous improvement. Achieving CMMI Level 5 for software engineering and systems engineering is an excellent benchmark to ensure that we are delivering best value and continuously improved quality to our customers. I heartily congratulate the Data Systems Operations team for this achievement," said Richard T. Witton, vice president and general manager, C2Intel.

"It is impressive enough to achieve an SEI CMMI Level 5. The C2Intel team has not only achieved a Level 5 but also exhibited an abundance of best practices for levels 4 and 5 that can be used throughout Northrop Grumman," said Galina Diggs, lead appraiser for Comskil. "It was an honor to lead the fine team that conducted this assessment. We unanimously felt that C2Intel had skillfully applied Six Sigma to exhibit such thorough work at CMMI Level 5."

The CMMI standard was developed by a coalition of industry, government and SEI to objectively assess the full range of an organization's engineering capabilities. There are five maturity levels, 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 for successful program execution.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, based in Reston, Va., is a $3.5 billion 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; and technical services and training.

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