Katrina forces temporary closure of contractor facilities

Major systems integrators Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. have shut down their Gulf Coast facilities temporarily following the region's devastation by Hurricane Katrina.

Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin has closed six of its facilities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Northrop Grumman of Los Angeles has shuttered four and is assessing possible damages from the disaster.

Lockheed Martin has set up a hotline and is offering Katrina-related relief information on its Web site for several thousand workers in the Gulf Coast region.

Lockheed Martin's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, which puts together fuel tanks for the space shuttle, and its propulsion and calibration facilities at the Stennis Space Center in Stennis, Miss., are expected to reopen no earlier than Sept. 6, the company said. The company's Stennis site is providing shelter for some of its employees while surrounded by flooding for up to 10 miles, according to the company's Web site.

Lockheed Martin also said on its Web site today that its plant in Pascagoula, Miss., has no power or water, and its facility in Ponchatoula, La., is expected to remain closed for two to three weeks because of the extensive damage in the area. The company provided no estimates on when its facilities in Meridian, Miss., and in Huntsville, Ala., would reopen.

Lockheed Martin's operations in Troy, Ala. had minor damage and are operating today, said company spokesman Jeff Adams.

Lockheed Martin is making a $75,000 donation to the Red Cross disaster fund for Hurricane Katrina, Adams said.

Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector facilities encountered "strong hurricane winds and storm surge, and all of the sector's facilities have experienced power, fuel and potable-water outages," the company said in a news release. "As winds and waters subside, company personnel will gain improved access to the facilities in order to more thoroughly assess facility conditions. The sector will be able to determine its timetable for a return to operations once that assessment is complete."

Northrop Grumman has facilities in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss., and in New Orleans and Tallulah, La. The sites were shuttered temporarily on Monday and are expected to remain closed today.

Northrop Grumman said Tuesday night that it was still evaluating the situation and its possible effect on the workforce, facilities and operations at the Ship Systems sectors.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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