Northrop expands state, local biz

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"Full steam ahead"

Northrop Grumman Information Technology recently struck an $8.1 million,

three-year pact to provide desktop and network support services to Louisiana's

Department of Social Services.

It is the type of deal the company says is indicative of the kind of

business that is driving a 30 percent annual growth in its state and local

business.

As well as similar support service deals in a number of other states,

demand is coming from other human services agencies, from criminal justice

organizations, and is "particularly strong" in all things associated with

homeland security and public safety, said Cheryl Janey, Northrop Grumman

IT's vice president of state and local programs.

"Security and safety at the first responder level has become extremely

important since Sept. 11," she said. "It's growing very quickly."

It's also growing as a state-level responsibility. Public safety has

traditionally been a local jurisdiction, Janey said, but the company recently

made a deal to oversee 911 service for the California Department of Forestry,

the first such statewide deal for emergency call services.

While better known as a player in the federal IT integration arena,

Northrop Grumman IT made a conscious decision to expand its revenue base

and so intends to become much more aggressive in the state and local market,

Janey said. And, although the amount of growth also is impacted by factors

such as the recession and budget pressures forcing governments to do more

outsourced deals, Janey feels that the post-Sept.11, 2001 demands play to

the company's strengths.

"From the security aspect, it's interesting because we have several

large federal agencies [as customers] whose demands far exceed what state

governments want," Janey said. "So we can relatively easily repackage the

solutions we provide to the federal side and scale them for state and local

government."

The IT organization also feels it can leverage the presence that Northrop

Grumman Corp. has in some states. In Louisiana, for example, the parent

company already is the state's largest private employer through its involvement

in such things as shipbuilding. Expansion in IT is seen as a "natural extension"

of this presence, Janey said.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached

at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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