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Plans for a new commnunication network, for a military theater of operations, have been under consideration since the end of World War II. It is axiomatic that a commnon user communication system, in which channels of communication are shared among a large number of users, must provide means whereby these channels are used with a maximum efficiency. In such a system, efficiency of operation depends to a large extent on the rapidity with which a large volume of communication traffic can be switched throughout the network, with a minimum of time being expended in setting up and taking down numerous connections. This article recounits the history of the development of a communication channel switching system as dictated by changing military requirements, accenting wide dispersal and mobility and the effect of this system concept on the design of military commnunication switching equipment. Early efforts to improve manually operated switchboards are described, with the aim of making clear the logical sequence of ideas leading to the development of the military four-wire automatic electronic switching system, now nearing completion. This automatic system is described in some detail as to its operating characteristics, and the reasoning behind the equipment design is discussed. The organized program to insure reliability of operation carried on concurrently with the equipment development is outlined and results described. Finally, the shape of things to come in military electronics switching equipment, as a logical next step from the point where it now stands, is prognosticated.