Officials mull future of Trail Boss
- By Paul McCloskey
- May 11, 2000
Government contracting officials are considering ways to use the now-discontinued
Trail Boss contracting training program to provide management and security
training for next-generation agency IT staff.
At the annual "Roundup" of Trail Boss graduates in Williamsburg, Va.,
this week, Trail Boss Interagency Committee chairman Larry Simon said the
Trail Boss program was "on a course to perish" unless steps were taken to
preserve the network of 900 Trail Boss graduates still active in government.
"Trail Boss features the best IT-management minds and network in the
federal government," Simon said. "Future IT leaders need the Trail Boss
community to succeed."
Simon wants to use Trail Bosses in ways that could help the federal
government train and retain IT managers. "The whole idea is how can we use
the network to help keep IT professionals in government," said Simon, a
program manager with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Trail Boss was launched in the early 1990s to train agency contracting
officers to administer cumbersome indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity
contracts then being used to feed the government's appetite for desktop
computers. When the big contracts faded away after procurement reform, Trail
Boss lost much of its drive.
Last year the program was discontinued. "Trail Boss did not keep up
with the times," said one agency IT manager here this week. In its place,
the General Services Administration launched STAR, a broader educational
program designed to give senior agency managers a grounding in project and
program management skills in technology, business and finance.
Now some officials believe remnants of the Trail Boss program should
be preserved to support junior- and mid-level managers who might not be
covered by STAR.
Among the ideas floated this week:
* Expand the Trail Boss network of graduates to include alumni who have
moved to the private sector.
* Create a Trail Boss workgroup to promote Internet security awareness
* Use the network to create a project management initiative for junior
* Create a formal mentoring program for the next generation of IT leaders.
* Set up a series of meetings so Trail Boss and STAR program graduates
can convene and share ideas.