COMLOGNET (Communications Logistics
Network) / (Combat Logistics Network)
Because the USAF global operations
became more complex, with a corresponding need for faster reaction time for logistics
support, a special Air Force planning group convened in 1958 to develop concepts for an
automatic computer-controlled data switching system. This system would replace the
existing manual and automatic data relay systems.
As a result of this meeting and other sources, a
document describing the
functional requirements for the COMLOGNET switching centers was developed.
This document, entitled "operational and Technical Characteristics, Automatic
Electronic Switching Centers for USAF Communications Logistics Network", contained
various requirements as follows:
- High speed system capable of handling narrative, data and graphic
information in binary signal form.
- System with the capability of interchanging traffic with other military
- Computer system capable of accepting data from various input/output
devices, such as: punch card readers, magnetic tape transports, digital
computer teletypewriter, and paper tape readers.
- Computer switching centers capable of providing service to input/output circuits
operating at speeds from 75 to 4800 bits per second (BAUD), utilizing full duplex
- Accuracy of the switching centers must not allow more than one undetected error for
every ten million data characters processed.
- Switching centers must be capable of continuous operation with no
scheduled downtime for maintenance.
As the COMLOGNET system developed, its original function of serving the
logistics activities of the Air Force was expanded to include all Air Force
DATA communications. Thus, COMLOGNET was re-designated AFDATACOM.
AFDATACOM (Air Force Data Communications)
The Western Union Telegraph Company (WUTELCO) was the prime
contractor, with RCA (Radio Corporation of America) being the major subcontractor who
provided the computer equipment for COMLOGNET, which was replaced (in name) by AFDATACOM).
In November 1962, the first Automatic Switching Center of the AFDATACOM system
was activated at Norton Air Force Base, California. This Automatic Electronic Switching
Center (AESC) was capable of processing narrative and other types of information. All of
the messages are processed by the computer in the form of electrical impulses (digital).
Activation of the initial five centers proceeded one at a time, and when the last one
became operational, the AFDATACOM network became part of the Defense Communications System
(DCS). Upon establishment of the Defense Communications Agency (DCA), AFDATACOM was
incorporated into DOS as the initial portion of an Automatic Worldwide Department of
Defense Digital Network and was renamed AUTODIN (Automatic Digital Network) ASC-
Continental United States (CONUS). It appears two names were used for the definition of
AUTODIN: Automatic Switching Center or AUTODIN Switching Center (ASC)
The initial plan called for five CONUS (CONtinental United States) Computerized
AESC's (ASCs). The five Sites selected were Norton AFB, San Bernardino, California;
McClellan AFB, Sacramento, California; Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Gentile AFB,
Dayton, Ohio and Andrews AFB, Washington D.C., Maryland area. A later expansion in 1965
added Albany, US Navy, Albany, Georgia; Ft Detrick, US Army, Frederick, Maryland; Hancock,
US Navy, Syracuse, New York and Wahiawa, US Navy, Wahiawa, Hawaii. Later this was followed
by an overseas expansion in Yokota, Japan; Taegu, Korea; Fenegayan, Guam; Croughton,
England; Pirmasens, Germany and Coltano, Italy. The overseas ASC Sites were designed,
installed and maintained by Philco-Ford, utilizing their 200 Computer line. This brought
the AUTODIN System up to a total of fifteen sites. Additional Overseas sites were phased
in and out over time.
Department of Defense (DoD) requirements stipulated that the AUTODIN System must be
designed to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and maintain an operational
efficiency of 99.9% on-line time. In order to meet this requirement the system was
designed with total equipment redundancy.
Initially the Continental United States (CONUS) AUTODIN system was supported and
maintained by Western Union. Later in the program, in 1986, American Satellite Corporation
(Contel ASC) purchased the AUTODIN system from WU. In 1989 GTE (General Telephone and
Electronics) and Philco-Ford acquired AUTODIN, with GTE maintaining the stateside Centers
and Philco-Ford maintaining the overseas Centers. The AUTODIN system has undergone many
upgrades and enhancements throughout its existence up to the present time. The system has
passed through three generations of mainframe designs, which included the original
discrete transistor circuitry and then integrated circuitry.
In the early phases of CONUS AUTODIN, the W. U. personnel staffing at each AESC (ASC)
consisted of a Site Manager, Assistant Site Manager, Maintenance Analyst, several
Maintenance Supervisors, an average of fifteen Site Supervisors, twenty-four Computer
Center Technicians and a Secretary and parts inventory clerk. The Number of required
on-site personnel continued to decrease as future equipment enhancements and upgrades
improved equipment reliability. There were Military personnel in charge of the CRYPTO area
and Government Civil Service personnel were responsible for all Center operational duties.
The overseas center personnel staffing varied from site to site.
Three ASC's remained in operation as of October 1, 2000. These are located at Ft.
Detrick, U.S. Army, Frederick, Maryland, Wahiawa, U.S. Navy, Wahiawa, Hawaii and
Pirmasens, Germany. The two stateside (CONUS) Sites are maintained by GTE (Hughes) and the
German Site was initially maintained by Philco-Ford, followed by GTE and then by SAIC
(military), which provides the maintenance at this time.
The following is a general overview illustrating the manner in which data would
be processed from one Tributary (A) to another Tributary (B). The tributary communication
lines are connected to the Accumulation and Distribution Unit (ADU). The ADU (front end)
is connected to the Communication Data Processor (CDP) through a high-speed interface.
Refer to ALP Figure
1-1 for a pictorial overview of data flow. Although Figure 1-1 contains the newer
ICCDP the data flow was basically the same as it was in the beginning with the CDP.