Materiel command and the materiality of commands: An historical examination of the US air force, control data corporation, and the advanced logistics system

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHistory of Computing
Subtitle of host publicationLearning from the Past - IFIP WG 9.7 International Conference, HC 2010 Held as Part of WCC 2010, Proceedings
EditorsArthur Tatnall
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Pages89-100
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783642151989
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010
EventIFIP WG 9.7 International Conference on History of Computing, HC 2010 Held as Part of 21st IFIP World Computer Congress, WCC 2010 - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: Sep 20 2010Sep 23 2010

Publication series

NameIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
Volume325
ISSN (Print)1868-4238
ISSN (Electronic)1868-422X

Other

OtherIFIP WG 9.7 International Conference on History of Computing, HC 2010 Held as Part of 21st IFIP World Computer Congress, WCC 2010
CountryAustralia
CityBrisbane
Period9/20/109/23/10

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2010.

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Advanced Logistics System (ALS)
  • Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC)
  • And computer networking
  • Control Data Corporation (CDC)
  • Real-time computing
  • Supply management
  • Technological failure

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