Materiel Command and the Materiality of Commands: An Historical Examination of the US Air Force, Control Data Corporation, and the Advanced Logistics System

  • Jeffrey R. Yost
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 325)

Abstract

In the late 1960s the US Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC) engaged in an unparalleled, real-time computer networking project to manage all its logistics (location, inventory, maintenance, and transportation of personnel, aircraft, weapons, components, spare parts, etc.), the Advanced Logistics System (ALS). The $250 million ALS project was substantially larger in size and cost than earlier real-time computer networking projects (including SAGE programming and SABRE), but it has received virtually no attention from historians of computing. Ultimately, the ALS project failed. Drawing from an oral history with lead contractor Control Data’s (CDC) longtime ALS project manager, previously unavailable CDC documents, and documentation and an oral history from a leading external Air Force advisor on ALS, it shows how the AFLC pushed too far too fast in seeking to be a first-mover in creating a massive unified database and real-time computer network for highly complex logistics.

Keywords

Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) Control Data Corporation (CDC) Advanced Logistics System (ALS) supply management technological failure real-time computing computer networking 

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Copyright information

© IFIP 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey R. Yost
    • 1
  1. 1.Charles Babbage InstituteUniversity of Minnesota 

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