General Dynamics ( GD) moved to capitalize on the antiterror zeitgeist, agreeing to buy government information-systems contractor Veridian ( VNX) for $35 a share, or about $1.5 billion including assumed debt. Arlington, Va.-based Veridian employs about 7,300 employees in 38 states, with annual sales in the $1.2 billion range. The company sells network security and enterprise protection; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services; chemical, biological and nuclear detection; network and enterprise management; and large-scale systems engineering. The shares were recently up $7.40, or 27%, to $34.75. They've traded in a range of $17.50 to $29.14 over the last 52 weeks, prior to Monday.