Northrop Grumman submits action plan on state contract

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Northrop Grumman, the private contractor hired to manage Virginia’s computer systems, has submitted a 40-page corrective action plan that spells out how it will meet targets in what has been a rocky public-private partnership.

Under the proposed plan, the overhaul of 85 agencies spread across 2,200 locations into a modern, managed information technology infrastructure would be completed by June 30, 2010, a year later than originally planned.

In October 2005, the Virginia Information Technology Investment Board selected Northrop Grumman for a 10-year, $2.3 billion contract to modernize the state’s computer systems and services. After a series of missed deadlines, service disruptions and billing disputes, the state notified the company in June that it was in breach of the contract and asked Northrop Grumman to submit a corrective plan.

The company disagreed that it was in breach of the contract. It responded in a letter to the commonwealth in July that Virginia had expanded the scope of the agency transformation beyond the original contract, which was why the company had achieved only limited success. The corrective plan states that “Northrop Grumman is unwavering in its commitment to successfully transition executive agencies of the Commonwealth of Virginia to a modern, robust managed services environment.”

It says that 32 of 59 projects included in the overhaul are complete, with another 28 in progress. Northrop Grumman also points out that it recently assigned its chief information officer to the effort full time and added 15 agency operations managers to improve communications between state agencies and the company.

Northrop Grumman submitted the plan to VITA ((Virginia Information Technologies Agency) for its review. If approved, it would replace an original transition plan submitted in June 2006. Along with Northrop Grumman, the state board shares responsibility for the management and completion of the project. The plan says that Northrop Grumman would look to VITA for gaining cooperation from commonwealth agencies in support of the plan and for ensuring the accuracy of agency information regarding completion dates or events that could impact the transition schedule. 

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