Northrop Grumman sees opportunity in information technology

EAGLE is an important opportunity that promises to take over many of the information technology functions formerly filled by the 22 different agencies that came together to create DHS. Bidders are providing proposals in areas such as network operations, operating help desks and security operations, with the prospect of multiple winners when contracts are finally awarded. The intent is to create more standardization within DHS and use the combined buying power of the organization to get the best possible prices.

The America’s Shield Initiative (ASI), a program that is in the process of being redefined, will also be an important opportunity to build up the contractor’s position in DHS. Northrop Grumman has put together a team, but has not yet unveiled it pending clarification of a change in direction of ASI, a $2.5 billion program to tighten border control by integrating sensors, cameras and other technology.

A critical win

With DHS still building up its infrastructure, winning on a program like EAGLE now is critical to Northrop Grumman. Building DHS’ infrastructure is likely to translate into improved positioning for future information technology contracts, according to Bruce Walker, Northrop Grumman’s director of homeland security. Once the infrastructure is in place, future contract awards are more likely to focus on specific missions.

Northrop Grumman is already one of the largest information technology companies in DHS. It rivals powerhouses such as IBM Global Services — with its work in the Automated Commercial Environment program to track commercial goods imported and exported from the United States for the Customs Service—and Unisys Corp., Reston, Va., with its work on information technology managed services for the Transportation Security Agency.

Northrop Grumman already does some of the work that is likely to be included under the EAGLE contract in the future. In work begun in 2002 and worth up to $120 million annually, Northrop Grumman provides information technology infrastructure and information technology support services for immigration and naturalization. Northrop Grumman provides support for 40,000 desktop computers and servers and maintains local area networks supporting more than 1,400 sites.

In addition, Northrop Grumman has won several contracts that are already working to put an integrated information technology infrastructure in place for DHS. Northrop Grumman received a blanket purchase agreement worth up to $175 million to put in place a new human resources management system. The company will provide integration and program management for the new system, which will combine the 22 legacy systems.

Northrop Grumman also won a $337 million task order in April 2004 to design, operate and maintain DHS’ classified network, work that will be unaffected by EAGLE. In winning the contract, Northrop Grumman beat teams led by Science Applications International Corp., San Diego, Calif., and Computer Sciences Corp., El Segundo, Calif.

Under the contract for the classified network, Northrop Grumman will enable secure infosharing on terrorism or law enforcement between intelligence agencies and state and local first responders.

Northrop Grumman has a strong presence with first responders at the state and local level. It provided one out of every four 911 emergency response systems in the United States.

The company’s organizational structure reveals the importance it places on information technology opportunities within DHS. Northrop Grumman’s Information Technology Sector has been given the lead.

Beyond IT

In addition to the opportunities being pursued in information technology, Northrop Grumman is pursuing other homeland security opportunities. As the largest unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturer in the United States, the company remains keenly interested in possibly providing unmanned aerial vehicles to DHS. It was disappointed, however, in DHS’ decision to contract with General Atomics, San Diego, Calif. for the Predator to observe the Arizona border with Mexico, rather than its own Hunter 2.

Still, Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle is a planned procurement under the Coast Guard’s Deepwater modernization program. And the company will be pursuing other opportunities to provide unmanned aerial vehicles for homeland security.

Northrop Grumman also continues its work on the Coast Guard’s $17 billion, 30-year Deepwater modernization effort through its Integrated Coast Guard Systems joint venture with Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Md. Northrop Grumman leads on naval systems, while Lockheed Martin leads on airborne systems.

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