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Northrop Grumman to pay for computer investigation

Rosalind Helderman

Virginia computer contractor Northrop Grumman has agreed to foot the bill for an independent investigation into the cause of storage unit failure that caused computing havoc at 26 of the state's 89 agencies over the last week, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) announced Thursday afternoon.

In a statement, McDonnell said that an outside vendor will be chosen jointly by his administration and the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee to conduct the review, but will be paid for by Northrop Grumman, who holds a $2.4 billion contract to manage the state's computer network.

The review will examine both the cause of the initial failure of two circuit boards in a data storage facility south of Richmond on Aug. 25 and well as the subsequent response by the state and Northrop. State officials have said that the manufacturer of the storage units believes the failure of both a primary and back-up storage drive was unprecedented.

Experts say just as troubling, however, has been the length of time needed to restore operations at state agencies following the initial crash. The Department of Motor Vehicles was particularly affected. Drivers have today been able to renew license for the first time in a week.

In a statement, McDonnell indicated that operations at impacted state agencies have now been restored and attention has now turned to cleaning-up data lost during the crash and examining the causes of the problems. He said he had spoken directly to Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush about the incident.

"I expressed to him that extended lapses in state computer services was an unacceptable hardship on our citizens and employees," McDonnell said in the statement. "I made clear that I expected the best around-the-clock recovery efforts possible in order to reclaim and restore all missing files and data. I appreciate the company's commitment to a full and comprehensive recovery from this system failure, and the agreement that Northrop Grumman would pay for the reasonable cost of the independent review that must take place immediately."

State officials say the following DMV locations will be open on Sunday and Monday, which is Labor Day, in an attempt to process a backlog of driver's license renewals: Abingdon, Alexandria, Charlottesville, Chesapeake, Chesterfield, Fair Oaks, Hampton, Harrisonberg, Leesburg, Lynchburg, Richmond-Broad Street, Roanoke, Virginia Beach-Buckner, Woodbridge.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 2, 2010; 2:04 PM ET
Categories:  Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Next: Northrop Grumman offers 'regret' for lengthy Virginia computer outage


Hrmm, an "independant" investigation in the same state where the attorney general is using his office for a vendetta against climate researchers?

I don't see that happening.
There's nothing independant in Partisan Virginia.

Posted by: MarilynManson | September 2, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully an anal probe.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | September 2, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

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