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Posted at 6:38 AM ET, 04/27/2010

Northrop Grumman chooses Virginia

By Peter Galuszka

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman's decision to locate its headquarters in Virginia instead of Maryland or the District is a victory for the Old Dominion and, on one level, for Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell.

Some 300 employees will move from Los Angeles to a new headquarters site in Arlington or Falls Church. That will put them close to the Pentagon, something important to the company because it gets about 90 percent of its revenue from the federal government.

All of the details of the incentives that the three localities offered weren't available, but McDonnell said this morning on WTOP radio that Virginia will give Northrop Grumman $12 million to $14 million in grants and cash incentives.

The McDonnell administration wins big with the move. But consider some mitigating points:

-- The courtship actually began during the administration of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine.

-- Northrop Grumman already has a huge footprint in Virginia. About 5,000 workers are employed at its giant Newport News shipyard, the only one in the United States capable of building nuclear-powered surface warships. Plus, the firm has defense procurement offices throughout the state and operates a center near Richmond for its controversial Information Technology project with the state.

-- A number of firms have relocated to Northern Virginia to take advantage of the state's pro-business environment in recent years, including Hilton Hotels and defense contractor SAIC.

Northrop Grumman, which has a solid reputation for diversity, apparently overlooked the McDonnell administration's recent flap over gay rights. McDonnell has backpedaled quickly from Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli's anti-gay opinions. And the governor has tried to finesse Northrop's mismanaged IT contract.

It is a win for McDonnell, but in a sense, the victory came in spite of his administration, not because of it.

Peter Galuszka blogs at Bacon's Rebellion. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Peter Galuszka  | April 27, 2010; 6:38 AM ET
Categories:  D.C., Fairfax County, HotTopic, Local blog network, Maryland, Va. Politics, Virginia, development, economy, military, taxes  
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300 transplanted jobs. How does this create jobs for area folks?

Posted by: jckdoors | April 27, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@jckdoors: 300 more folks buying homes & consuming local goods. Plus, there are expected to be ~150 additional new hires to replace the folks that chose not to move from CA.

Posted by: dougbsmith | April 27, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

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