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Northrop Grumman

For the latest company profile on Northrop Grumman, visit our corporate malfeasance wiki,

CEO: Ronald Sugar
Military contracts 2005: $13.5 billion
Campaign contributions in 2004: $1.68 million (defense related)
$1.77 million (total)

Northrop Grumman makes B-2 stealth bomber, which costs $2 billion per plane, the F-14 fighter, the unmanned Global Hawk and amphibious assault ships. Its Newport News division is the only designer, builder and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in the US. Northrop Grumman is also responsible for ALQ-15 jamming device, used to protect jets from enemy radar-guided missiles. As David Steigman, senior defense analyst for the Teal Group, boasts, "Northrop Grumman's role is supplying the command control communications and the intelligence surveillance systems to find the bad guys and bop them in the head."

And the company is politically savvy as well, having given $8.5 million in federal campaign contributions from 1990-2002, which has paid off over the years in spades. In December 2003, Northrop Grumman and partner Raytheon won a contract potentially worth more than $10 billion with the Pentagon for a missile defense system. It’s now the third largest “defense” company in the US, after Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

In June of 2003, Northrop Grumman paid $111.2 million to settle a suit alleging their subsidiary, TRW, overcharged the US government space projects in the 1990s. But paying out money is not hard for the company. Northrop Grumman’s subsidiary Logicon, along with Oracle, was suspected of solidifying a purchasing deal with then Governor Gray Davis in exchange for a sizable campaign donation; an executive at Logicon was also investigated by the SEC for aiding and abetting securities fraud in a separate case. And in 1972 Northrop was caught bribing the head of the Saudi air force and a Saudi prince to buy F-5 military aircraft.

Former Northrop Grumman Electronics Systems chief James Roche served as George Bush's Secretary of the Air Force for two years. Since September 11th, Roche has emphasized the need for more spending on intelligence systems, specifically mentioning Northrop Grumman's Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), a control center and a huge radar disc mounted atop a Boeing 707, which serves "as the airborne nerve center for a military air campaign." At least seven former officials, consultants, or shareholders of Northrop Grumman now hold posts in the Bush administration, ensuring that the company’s interests are not overlooked for lucrative contracts in the “war on terrorism”, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Vice-Presidential Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby, Pentagon Comptroller Dov Zakheim, and Sean O’Keefe, director of NASA.

Northrop Grumman’s subsidiary, Vinnell Corporation, has been catching a lot of flack lately. They landed a $48 million contract with the US occupational authority to train the Iraqi National Army, but have botched the job so badly that the Jordanian Army has recently been brought in to take over the job.

Vinnell Corporation, founded by the late A. S. Vinnell in 1931 to pave roads in Los Angeles, handles a number of large domestic as well as government projects. After working with Chinese Nationalist Chiang Kai-shek to back US anti-communist efforts against Mao Zedong, the company became the major contractor for US military operations in Okinawa, overhauled Air Force planes in Guam in the early 1950s, and sent men and equipment onto the battlefields of the Korean War.

Now based in Fairfax, Virginia, the company has been controlled in the past through a web of interlocking ownership by a partnership that included James A. Baker III and Frank Carlucci, former U.S. secretaries of state and defense under Presidents George Bush senior and Ronald Reagan respectively.

Perhaps the most important military contract Vinnell landed was in 1975 when the Pentagon helped the company win a bid to train the 75,000 strong Saudi Arabian National Guard, a military unit descended from the Bedouin warriors who helped the Saud clan impose control on the peninsula early in last century. This aspect of Vinnell’s activities was highlighted last spring when Saudi insurgents attacked a compound housing Vinnell workers. Currently, Vinnell has a five-year contract with the House of Saud worth $831 million, which is bankrolled by the Saudis but run by the US Army Materiel Command.


Companies lobby (quietly) on Armenia genocide bill
by Stephen SingerAssociated Press
June 13th, 2009
In an effort to keep business ties with Turkey, five military contractors and one energy company (Chevron) lobby against a U.S. bill that would label Turkey's slaugther of a million Aremnians during WWI genocide.

US: Contractors Vie for Plum Work, Hacking for U.S. Government
May 30th, 2009
The Obama administration’s push into cyberwarfare has set off a rush among the biggest military companies for billions of dollars in new defense contracts. Nearly all of the largest military companies — including Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon — have major cyber contracts with the military and intelligence agencies.

US: The Looming Crisis at the Pentagon
by Chalmers
February 2nd, 2009
Like much of the rest of the world, Americans know that the U.S. automotive industry is in the grips of what may be a fatal decline. A similar crisis exists when it comes to the military-industrial complex. That crisis has its roots in the corrupt and deceitful practices that have long characterized the high command of the Armed Forces, civilian executives of the armaments industries, and Congressional opportunists and pay-to-play criminals.

UK: FBI wants instant access to British identity data
by Owen BowcottThe Guardian (UK)
January 15th, 2008
Americans seek international database to carry iris, palm and finger prints

Domestic Spying, Inc.
by Tim Shorrock Special to CorpWatch
November 27th, 2007
A new U.S. intelligence institution will allow government spy agencies to conduct broad surveillance and reconnaissance inside the country for the first time. Contractors like Boeing, BAE Systems, Harris Corporation, L-3 Communications and Science Applications International Corporation are already lining up for possible work.

INDIA: Building a Modern Arsenal in India
by Heather Timmons and Somini SenguptaThe New York Times
August 31st, 2007
India is developing a military appetite to match its growing economic power. With a ballooning arms budget, India will soon become one of the largest military markets in the world, making it an important new target for American arms manufacturers.

US: Bush Turns to Big Military Contractors for Border Control
by Eric LiptonThe New York Times
May 18th, 2006
The quick fix may involve sending in the National Guard. But to really patch up the broken border, President Bush is preparing to turn to a familiar administration partner: the nation's giant military contractors.

KATRINA: Northrop Makes Pitch for Storm Aid
by Leslie WayneThe New York Times
May 10th, 2006
The Northrop Grumman Corporation, the largest builder of warships in the world, was on a charm offensive here Tuesday. Armed with slides and charts, Philip A. Teel, who runs Northrop's shipyards, led a phalanx of executives who laid out their case for another $200 million from Congress to cover losses from Hurricane Katrina.

US: Business booming for U.S. defense contractors
by Peter BauerMenafn
August 20th, 2005
U.S. defence contractors are riding high these days, buoyed by rising Pentagon spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the high cost of homeland security in the U.S.-declared war on terror. The fiscal 2006 defence budget is set to climb to 441 billion dollars, an increase of 21 billion dollars over 2005. It envisions an additional 50 billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.