Leaders within the Information Technology (IT) industry are expressing a general concern that the products used to deliver and manage today's communications network capabilities require far too much effort to learn and to use, even by highly skilled and increasingly scarce support personnel. The usability of network management systems must be significantly improved if they are to deliver the performance and quality of service needed to meet the ever-increasing demand for new Internet-based information and services. Fortunately, recent advances in spoken language (SL) interface technologies show promise for significantly improving the usability of most interactive IT applications, including network management systems. The emerging SL interfaces will allow users to communicate with IT applications through words and phases -- our most familiar form of everyday communication. Recent advancements in SL technologies have resulted in new commercial products that are being operationally deployed at an increasing rate. The present paper describes a project aimed at the application of new SL interface technology for improving the usability of an advanced network management system. It describes several SL interface features that are being incorporated within an existing system with a modern graphical user interface (GUI), including 3-D visualization of network topology and network performance data. The rationale for using these SL interface features to augment existing user interfaces is presented, along with selected task scenarios to provide insight into how a SL interface will simplify the operator's task and enhance overall system usability.