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The Air Navigation Development Board recently established its System Engineering Advisory Team to aid the Director in formulating and carrying out a unified program of research and development for the common system of air navigation and traffic control. This group began its work in the summer of 1955. The goal of ANDB is to secure a system design of air navigation and traffic control that permits a free movement of all types of aircraft as desired by their operators. In this program, the communications system is treated as a tool of air traffic control and its characteristics are dependent on basic air traffic control principles and practices. The program is divided into two broad phases: short term, and long term. The short term portion is aimed at achieving a system design based on currently available equipment and techniques. The long term goal is directed toward the design of a system capable of completely automatic operation. When an advanced system design has been achieved, it is essential that a carefully planned evolutionary transition be available to permit going from the old to the new. As far as can be seen in the future, the ATC system, both in the air and on the ground, will be heterogeneous in nature. That is, old and new equipment must operate compatibly together in the system. There is a considerable history of communications planning in post-war aeronautical studies. Several authoritative plans for air-ground communications systems are contrasted to show a need for better coordination and consistency in planning.