HERNDON and RESTON, Va., Aug. 18, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and an industry team have received approval from the Department of Defense to test a prototype system for cross-credentialing, a system that recognizes and authenticates the identity of visitors to military and defense industry facilities. Northrop Grumman and its team members are administering this test with the Defense Department's Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC).

Northrop Grumman's Information Technology (IT) and Mission Systems sectors lead the team developing the Defense Cross-credentialing Identification System (DCIS), an initiative to meet the Defense Department's growing need for a standardized system that recognizes dissimilar individual credentials.

An identity service for physical access across facilities, the DCIS prototype will accept and process credentials -- the Common Access Card and similar, standardized industry identification, including biometrics -- from all participating federated DCIS agencies and contractors. The authentication process will include a live-scan comparison of biometrics.

Northrop Grumman will run initial tests at selected Defense Department facilities and company facilities in McLean and Reston, Va., Columbia, Md., Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. The pilot is expected to commence in October 2003.

Early phases of the DCIS program will be sponsored by the DMDC and funded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration, Directorate of Information Assurance.

"The ability to have both government and major contractors able to have their credentials recognized from facility to facility is a major step forward," said Kent Schneider, president, Defense Enterprise Solutions, Northrop Grumman IT. "The promise of this pilot serves to help all access control areas between the Department of Defense and industry."

Schneider said the long-range vision is to allow not only physical access but also verification of identity for various transactions. Individuals in one organization would have their identity verified by a trusted set of software and procedures within that person's own organization. Once the identity verification is complete, the individual will be allowed to conduct transactions that contain elements that know the identity of the individual through a trusted verification system.

The pilot effort will also address policy, legal and technical issues affecting access control and credentialing, and will develop a set of operating rules by which industry can become DCIS compliant.

"By providing secure, streamlined physical access to contractors at military facilities and to military staff at contractor facilities, DCIS will provide a vital service for force protection," said Wood Parker, vice president and general manager, Government Information Technology Division, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. "We are applying the most advanced techniques, technologies and security methodologies available and developing an expandable and scalable process that will enable additional applications within the government access control arena."

Current CAC holders are already enrolled to participate, since identity information (name, fingerprint and photograph) is available in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System database. Contractor employees will be enrolled into their database that will capture their name, photograph, two fingerprint images and additional identifying information.

The identifying access credential could be a physical token, such as a smart card or magstripe, or a 1-D barcode that is printed onto a label and affixed to employee badges.

Northrop Grumman's IT and Mission Systems sectors will lead the technical development of the test, with contributions from the Federated Electronic Government Coalition, Washington, D.C.; SRA International, Fairfax, Va.; EDS, Plano, Texas; and BearingPoint, McLean, Va.

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.

Northrop Grumman Information Technology, headquartered in Herndon, Va., is a trusted IT leader and premier provider of advanced IT solutions, engineering and business services for government and commercial clients. The company's expertise spans such areas as information systems integration; information technology security; command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR); homeland security; enterprise hardware and software solutions; training and simulation; base and range support; signals intelligence; health informatics; space systems; and specialized scientific, engineering and technical services.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT US: Northrop Grumman news releases, product information, photos and video clips are available on the Internet at: http://www.northropgrumman.com . Information specific to the Mission Systems sector is available at: www.ms.northropgrumman.com/index.html

  CONTACT:  Juli Ballesteros
          Northrop Grumman Information Technology
          (703) 713-4675
          Janis Lamar
          Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
          (703) 345-7046