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An ASTN (automatic switched transport network) enhances the traditional transport network by a control plane. The control plane implements signalling and routing mechanisms that allow the automatic configuration of end-to-end connections on client requests. Consequently the management of ASTNs requires integrated management of the control plane layer and the underlying transport network. This article describes a generic architecture for ASTN management systems tuned to this requirement. The centre piece of this architecture is a generic CORBA network level interface which allows an easy integration of several layer networks and different administrative domains. In order to evaluate this architecture it will be implemented for an IP over ASON (automatic switched optical network) field trial developed within the IST (Information Societies Technology) project LION (Layers Interworking in Optical Networks). The LION management system is designed for a multi-vendor, multi-technology, and multidomain environment. This contribution gives a description of the architectural concepts used, the existing frameworks adopted, the design of the network level interface, and experiences made during implementation of the concepts for the LION field trial.