Defense contractors Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. could lay off at least 130 employees early next year after losing a key contract with Missile Defense Agency to Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., according to notices filed with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
Northrop Grumman has held the Joint National Integration Center Research and Development contract since 1995 to provide integration management, research, development, test, evaluations, operations and infrastructure management to the Missile Defense Agency at Schriever Air Force Base east of Colorado Springs. The $4.2 billion contract, which expires March 4, also included exercises in missile defense readiness, war-game command and control, operational and other requirements performed by Northrop and 28 subcontractors that together employed 1,500.
Northrop told the labor agency in a Nov. 2 letter that it will be "redeploying many of its approximately 550 employees on this contract, it is likely that 50 or more employees will be laid off during the 60-day period" beginning Jan. 4. The letter said the notices were sent even though "the exact number of layoffs is still in flux," starting with 15 employees who will be terminated on Jan. 4 and continuing with any "remaining employees who are still on the JRDC contract and have not redeployed as of March 4 will be laid off on that date."
Two Northrop spokeswomen did not return telephone calls and emails seeking comment on the company's layoff plans. The company last year celebrated subcontracting $1 billion in worth since 2005, inviting all 28 subcontractors and many of their employees to its offices near the Colorado Springs Airport.
Lockheed, a Northrop Grumman subcontractor on the contract, sent a similar letter Nov. 1 to the agency covering all 79 of its employees working on the Missile Defense Agency contract. Suzanne Smith, a Lockheed spokeswoman in Denver, said the defense giant is "working to place people in other contracts. We have other programs at Schriever and throughout the Colorado Springs and Denver areas. We have so many openings in the Colorado Springs area - 155 - and it is so hard to find good people that we are working hard to place our employees in other jobs."
Jacobs Engineering Group won the $4.6 billion Integrated Research & Development for Enterprise Solutions contract in August to provide integrated solutions to support concurrent test, training and operations within the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center and supporting the Missile Defense Agency's communications and information technology network. While the Dallas-based company is advertising on its website to hire employees working for the existing contractor or its subcontractors, a company spokesman has not returned repeated calls for comment on its hiring plans.
Jacobs said in a news release that the "primary work sites" for the five-year contract, which includes options for another three years, will be in Alabama, Colorado and Virginia. The company employs more than 54,000 in more than 25 countries worldwide and generated annual revenue totaling nearly $11 billion last year.
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