An inside look at Northrop's $2.6B DHS headquarters job

Company responsible for infrastructure at the government's largest construction project since the Pentagon

For Michael Springman, there are three clear reasons why Northrop Grumman Corp. won the 10-year, $2.6 billion contract to build the IT infrastructure for the Homeland Security Department’s new headquarters campus.

First, Northrop's plan meets the requirements and shows that it can do the job within cost and schedule constraints.

Second, Northrop has a relationship with DHS, such as providing the Homeland Security Data Network.

And finally, Northrop has a solid reputation for partnering with its government customers.

“Those are the main factors,” Springman said, and he should know as Northrop Grumman’s vice president and program manager in charge of the project.

DHS and the General Services Administration are building a new campus to house the headquarters operations of DHS and its component agencies. When completed, there will be 14,000 employees using 55 buildings. Clark Construction is handling the physical construction, which includes rehabilitating 51 historic buildings that were part of the St. Elizabeths Hospital campus, a former psychiatric institution in Southeast Washington. It will be the government's biggest office complex project since it constructed the Pentagon.

Northrop Grumman’s team includes large businesses such as IBM Corp. and Johnson Controls, which will provide smart-building technology. The project has environmental goals that include a minimum of receiving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification.

A division of Northrop Grumman, Diebold and Cosentini Associates will work on physical security. CACI International will help with networking technology. TWD and Associates will supply secure audiovisual and conferencing technology.

The contract also comes with a 40 percent small-business subcontracting requirement.

Springman said Northrop plans to go beyond just subcontracting. “Part of what we want to do is be a member of the community at large,” he said. For example, Northrop is already involved with nearby Ballou High School to support technology education.

The redevelopment of St. Elizabeths is expected to be an economic engine for that part of Washington.

For the project, Springham said the primary challenge will be forming a governance model and then sticking to it. Northrop has begun meeting with Clark, DHS and GSA to develop an integrated master schedule.

“All the parties have to be part of it and knowledgeable and invested in the plan," he said. "And it has to be closely managed. The primary thing is to have visibility into the plan and schedule at all times.”

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

Reader Comments

Tue, Oct 19, 2010 Jeffrey A. Williams Frisco Texas

FWIW, putting a new DHS or any other new government hadquarters in or near the Washington D.C. area is ill advised from a security standpoint alone.

Mon, Oct 18, 2010

It is the perfect location for DHS at St. Elizabeths Hospital psychiatric institution.

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