Northrop's homeland value on rise

The Immigration and Naturalization Service's choice of Northrop Grumman Corp. as its new information technology support company may prove valuable if the INS becomes part of the proposed Homeland Security Department.

Northrop Grumman, which recently won an INS technology management contract that could net the company as much as $228 million over five years, is also a key technology hardware and service supplier to the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration and the Justice Department. All or parts of those organizations are among the 22 agencies and departments that are to be folded into the Homeland Security Department, where developing compatible computer systems will be a major challenge.

INS officials announced Nov. 5 that it is hiring Northrop to provide IT infrastructure and support services for 100 field offices from Eagle Pass, Texas, to the Canadian border. And last summer, the Coast Guard hired Northrop and partner Lockheed Martin Corp. to perform a $17 billion overhaul of computers, sensors, command, control, communications and surveillance systems in ships and aircraft.

Northrop's involvement in the INS and Coast Guard projects should help ensure computer system and database compatibility, said Gene Kakalec, vice president of business development in Northrop Grumman IT's government solutions division.

Kakalec said the INS job involves providing support services for 40,000 INS desktop computers and servers and keep INS networks running at more than 1,400 sites.

Northrop also will operate INS mission and management systems in Washington, D.C., and monitor INS systems at the Justice Department's Data Center in Dallas.

Although hired primarily to operate existing INS systems, Northrop's contract includes a "technology insertion clause" that could lead to systems upgrades, Kakalec said.

Northrop also has $16.8 million contract to develop training programs at the Justice Department's Office of Domestic Preparedness - another entity slated for the Homeland Security Department

The company is also a subcontractor on the Transportation Security Administration's primary IT infrastructure contract. And TSA, too, is to move to the homeland department. Northrop Grumman's corporate experience could prove valuable to the Homeland Security Department in another way, Kakalec said. Having acquired many companies and parts of companies — including Logicon Inc., Litton Industries Inc. and Newport News Shipbuilding Inc. — Northrop has gained extensive experience at merging tens of thousands of employees and disparate business systems into a single corporate giant, he said.

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