MIS Quarterly Executive


"On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed a data center and much of the communications infrastructure at the Pascagoula and Gulfport, Mississippi, operations of the Ship Systems sector of Northrop Grumman Corporation. Simultaneously, the hurricane put a second data center out of commission in a shipyard near New Orleans. The storm disrupted the lives of the sector’s 20,000 employees and their dependents located in the Gulf Coast, caused over US$1 billion in damage for the company, and, for two weeks, brought two of the nation’s largest shipyards to a standstill.Northrop Grumman’s experience provides a rich opportunity to look at the consequences of, and responses to, a cataclysmic disaster—one that, by its magnitude, far exceeded the assumptions of most firms’ business continuity plans. This story of resilience, agility, and recovery provides valuable lessons in how to adapt when the business continuity plan and when the public infrastructure prove inadequate. This story also provides an opportunity to reexamine our processes for preparing disaster plans, as well as processes for assessing preparedness and response after a disaster or a near-disaster."