June 21

Executive Spotlight: Chris McGlade, VP for Quality & Operational Excellence at Northrop’s Defense Systems Sector


Chris McGlade, sector vice president of quality and operational excellence for defense systems at Northrop Grumman, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the continued development of the modern and future battlefield as well as how that mission influences the core value of the company culture.

In addition, Chris McGlade discussed the uphill challenge of talent recruitment and retainment in the federal landscape as well as Northrop Grumman’s mission to drive and advance technical innovation and creativity for the company’s workforce during the latest Executive Spotlight interview.

You can read the full interview with Chris McGlade below:

ExecutiveBiz: What are the core values that are important to Northrop Grumman’s culture?

Chris McGlade: “This is my 36th year with Northrop Grumman. We are committed to the health and safety of our employees, contractors, customers – and the communities in which we operate.

Our values support Northrop Grumman’s ability to deliver on a shared purpose. They define who we are and our company culture in terms of how we act and operate. Our set of values is one of the strongest in the industry and its clear why people want to join our team.

Sustainability is also a core to Northrop Grumman’s mission of protecting national security and advancing our understanding of the world. Our purpose is to make the world a safer and more equitable place. We strive to conduct our operations in an environmentally responsible manner. Our general safety goal is zero incidents. Everything that our people do for Northrop Grumman makes this a special place to work.

We just released our Sustainability Report a few weeks ago, which announced six new company environmental sustainability goals and expands on sustainability initiatives that will guide our environmental sustainability initiatives – both today and for the future.

ExecutiveBiz: As the nation continues to face the uphill challenge to recruit and retain top technical talent in aerospace and defense, how is Northrop Grumman ensuring a robust workforce that drives valuable technical innovation and creativity for its employees?

Chris McGlade: “At Northrop Grumman, we can’t excel, innovate or grow without the right people. As I mentioned previously, our people and the strong, positive culture that they create are the keys to our success as an organization. Likewise, attracting the right talent is at the forefront.

We do this by partnering with our talent acquisition teams to attract and onboard the right people to support our business needs and our top priorities. After that, we expect that our managers grow their people and use the many tools to continue their education as well as reward them for their good work and share in the company’s successes.

That could involve working with people who have been in the field for a while, or recently out of university. We partner with a range of universities across the country to develop the required skill sets and curriculums tailored to our programs.

Over the next five years, Northrop Grumman will continue to grow in scale, size and in the strength of our people. Part of that process is normal talent attrition and looking for people with different perspectives, passions, unique skills and experiences to be part of our team.

We also are monitoring our work environment and we’re working through agile recruiting methods to ensure our employees have an exceptional experience when they first come to Northrop Grumman.

Likewise, we’re moving toward hybrid working solutions and allowing our employees to work remotely. Naturally, some of the work we do can’t be done remotely. Whenever possible, we want to continue our best culture practices.”

ExecutiveBiz: As warfare continues to be influenced by advancements in information technology, what do you believe are the most significant capabilities that are being developed for our Armed Forces to provide force protection on the modern battlefield?

Chris McGlade: “Mainly, I work in the defense system sector. I’m responsible for a lot of the operations from a homebase standpoint, which includes technology, engineering and manufacturing as well as supply chain and mission assurance.

Our customers are looking for faster cycle times and more affordable systems to rapidly counter evolving threats. They also have a need to maintain capabilities. We understand what our warfighters need.

We’re performing at that speed with efficiency and agility across our portfolio. For Northrop Grumman, digital transformation is all about our customers and their mission. We understand the importance of it. There is a benefit for our customers and it is all about the mission. A big part of my responsibility involves our digital transformation capabilities.

I have a really strong team working to address those challenges right now. Northrop Grumman is a leader in digital technologies and improving how we use new capabilities in areas like artificial intelligence and others. It’s all about connecting the dots across multiple sectors.

Our service branches (and those of our allies around the world) are driving toward and becoming a lot more connected on the battlefield. The reality of the future battlespace is that it is becoming extremely dynamic and creating mission advantages through the ability to not only have superior weapons, but also superior information gathering and sharing capabilities is where we are focusing our efforts in support of our military customers so they can more efficiently observe, orient, decide and act as a unit to defend against key threats. We’ve been able to connect distributed data platforms and weapons from all domains and provide that decisive advantage.

As an example, Northrop Grumman has the program of record for the U.S. Army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) that provides open modular and scalable architecture. It’s critically important for the Army moving forward. We’re continuing to expand our work with the Army in this area and others into the future, which includes providing this capability to our international allies.

There are always challenges that impact any business. We’ve all been through a number of different challenges, especially with the pandemic. Supply chain is one of those areas that is a major disruptor for businesses worldwide. Northrop Grumman is dealing with the same challenges as everyone else in our industry.

It’s critically important that we are paying attention, especially to our supply chain management processes. We’re making sure that we have the right protocols in place and that we are working hands on with our customers on their digital solutions and overall portfolio to ensure proper implementation

For us at Northrop Grumman, we are working very closely with our supply base and our partners to make sure that we are establishing priorities and working together to best meet the challenges together.

The bottom line is that we reach the end state as efficiently and quickly as possible. Northrop Grumman is putting the right attention along with the best team for the job to make sure everything from the compliance standards and technology aligns with our clients’ requirements and overall mission.”

It really takes a dynamic team to be successful in all facets of the business. At Northrop Grumman, our employees have incredible opportunities to deliver revolutionary systems that impact aerospace and defense capabilities around the world. We are always looking for people who are interested in joining our team and who can work together to define the technologies that make the impossible possible.”



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