EL SEGUNDO, Calif., May 13, 2004 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Lean Aerospace Initiative, an MIT-led consortium of U.S. government organizations, defense and aerospace companies, and organized labor focused on increasing the value of aerospace business practices, has elected a Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) executive to be its next industry co-chairman.

Christopher B. Cool, vice president of Lean and Enterprise Excellence for Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector, will serve as the initiative's industry co-chair for 18 months. In this role, he will represent the interests of defense and aerospace companies in discussions with the Department of Defense, NASA, MIT and the International Association of Machinists on how best to simplify and streamline aerospace business practices.

The goal of the Lean Aerospace Initiative (LAI) is to help the defense and aerospace industry identify and implement business processes that lead to the delivery of higher quality products, at lower cost, in less time. Cool has served on the LAI board of directors since 1997.

"Northrop Grumman has been a leader in implementing lean business practices since the inception of this critical, cost-saving philosophy in 1993," said Cool. "I'm looking forward to helping shape the dialogue with MIT, the Defense Department, NASA and labor that's allowed the defense and aerospace industry, through the Lean Aerospace Initiative, to steadily improve the quality and reduce the cost of national defense programs for U.S. taxpayers."

Founded by MIT and the Air Force, the Lean Aerospace Initiative champions and works to implement the principles of lean thinking and lean business practices. Lean thinking is a philosophy that focuses on creating value for customers, shareholders, employees and suppliers: it seeks to continuously identify steps in design, production and/or business operations that add value - and eliminate those that don't. Lean business practices seek to optimize a company's use of human, material and financial resources to maximize product quality and customer satisfaction while minimizing related costs.

"Chris Cool has made substantial contributions to LAI as an active industry member of the Executive Board," said MIT professor Dr. Sheila Widnall, a former secretary of the Air Force who currently serves on the LAI board of directors. "I'm confident that under his leadership and with the continued support of Northrop Grumman, LAI will successfully transition to the next phase of its contributions to the effectiveness of the extended aerospace enterprise."

LAI provides a rare forum for Defense Department customers, industry, academia, and labor to collaborate on finding systemic ways to improve aerospace. It serves as a neutral broker for lean research, helps identify best industry practices, and promotes new applications of lean business practices within the aerospace industry. Initially, its work focused primarily on manufacturing-related processes, but lean thinking is now applied to organizational processes ranging from program acquisition to product delivery and field support.

LAI's membership roster includes more than a dozen Defense Department organizations, NASA, the International Association of Machinists and 18 of the nation's largest defense and aerospace companies.

Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems is a premier aerospace and defense systems integration organization. Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., it designs, develops, produces and supports integrated systems and subsystems optimized for use on networks. For its government and civil customers worldwide, Integrated Systems delivers best-value systems, products and services that support military and homeland defense missions in the areas of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; space access; battle management command and control; and integrated strike warfare.

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  CONTACT:  Brooks McKinney
          Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems 
          (310) 331-6610