Turnaround skill gains AF officer Trail Boss honor

WILLIAMSBURG, Va.—Lt. Col. William V. Cox, who spearheaded the turnaround of three
Air Force systems, took trail boss of the year honors in a ceremony last week at the
General Services Administration’s annual Trail Boss Roundup.

Cox is deputy director of the Functional Information Special Project Office for the
Standard Systems Group at Maxwell Air Force Base’s Gunter Annex, Ala.

He inherited three systems in disarray, but, using the training techniques acquired in
GSA Trail Boss Program courses, was able to resuscitate each of the systems in a
relatively short period of time, said Kay Ely, director of the Veterans Affairs
Department’s Acquisition Policy and Review Service and chairwoman of the Trial Boss
Interagency Committee Management Council.

Through Trail Boss, GSA has provided systems management training to thousands of
government information technology officials.

Ely said Cox earned the honor this year because his reworking of the projects saved the
Air Force time and money.

The Air Force Operations Resource Management System, which suffered from a flawed
design and test strategy, saw system response times drop from an average of 30 minutes to
30 seconds.

The Manpower Data System, which the service was about to cancel because of budget and
schedule overruns, has since received a nomination for a Defense Department Best Practices
in Information Technology Award.

The Security Forces Management Information System, which the service expected to cost
$5 million to $8 million, was developed and fielded for less than $3 million.

“The cornerstone in solving these challenges has been Bill Cox,” GSA said in
a statement about the award. “He achieved these accomplishments during a period when
the entire Standard Systems Group structure” was being reorganized.

The Trail Boss Interagency Committee also handed out two trail boss special achievement

When Bennis became program manager in January 1998, DMS was nearly two years behind
schedule, with only a handful of sites operational. In the last year, DMS has gone from
four installed sites to 218.

So far, about 84 percent of Canada’s systems are ready, and all systems will be
fixed before the date change, Ely said.

“The project has been an unqualified success due to the diligence and professional
approach brought to it by Craig Webster and his team,” GSA’s awards statement


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