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Longtime DOD IT exec Paige dies at 86

Retired Lt. Gen. Emmett Paige Jr. was DOD's assistant secretary for command, control, communications and intelligence from 1993 to 1997.

Retired Lt. Gen. Emmett Paige Jr., who was the Defense Department's assistant secretary for command, control, communications and intelligence from 1993 to 1997, passed away on Aug. 31.

Paige was a two-time Federal 100 Award winner, and won the government Eagle Award in 1995 for his efforts to move DOD's telecom traffic into the governmentwide FTS environment.

A high school dropout who enlisted in the Army at age 16, Paige soon made his way into the Signal Corps Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1952. His 41-year career included service with multiple signal and signal contraction battalions in Korea, and command of the 361st Signal Battalion in Vietnam. He served two tours with the Defense Communications Agency, and commanded a wide range Army signals, communications and IT agencies before retiring as a lieutenant general in 1988.

Paige returned to government service five years later, when he was nominated and confirmed for the assistant secretary post -- the predecessor to today's DOD CIO position -- during the Clinton administration.

Paige was the first commander of the Army's Information Systems Command in the mid-1980s, when the service first aimed to bring together computers and telecommunications, and he built on those efforts during his tenure at the Pentagon. Former Defense Information Systems Agency Director and retired Army Lt. Gen.

Alonzo Short told FCW in 2004, that Paige was the one who "laid down the basic structure and the architectures...[for] network centricity."

Paige had a reputation for being a good listener and a humble leader, but also was known for his extreme drive and his all-caps e-mails.

"HE IS THE ONLY PERSON FROM WHOM EVERYONE ACCEPTS ALL-CAPITAL E-MAILS," retired Lt. Gen. Albert Edmonds another former DISA head, wrote to FCW when Paige retired from federal IT for good in 2004. "AND NO ONE WORRIES ABOUT WHETHER HE IS SHOUTING BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY ARE GETTING EITHER EMMETT'S OPINION OR HIS WISDOM. THEY ARE USUALLY THE SAME."

Paige's private-sector IT career included executive roles with OAO Corp. and Lockheed Martin.

Funeral services will be held Sept. 20 at 11 a.m. at Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, Md.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Sep 15, 2017 at 11:13 AM


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