After 42 years of service in the United States Air Force, the National Guard assistant to the commander, U.S. Cyber Command, director, National Security Agency, and chief, Central Security Service, officially retired during a ceremony at Warfield Air National Guard Base at Martin State Airport, Middle River, Maryland, Oct. 3, 2020.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Paul C. Maas, Jr. ended his military service the same place it began in the Maryland Air National Guard. Throughout his time serving, he passed through many different career fields and locations while still remaining a traditional guardsman with the MDANG.
“It’s been an exciting part of my life being a part of the National Guard over the past 42 years,” said Maas, who enlisted in January 1978. “The National Guard of today looks very much different than when I entered the military. Today we are completely integrated in the mission; the fighter mission and the cyber mission.”
Early on Maas saw how different missions needed to sync up to be successful. U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, Air National Guard director noted in his remarks during the ceremony that Maas recognized he needed to “get smart on cyber.” As a lieutenant colonel, he saw the cyber was more than back and forth communication.
“[Maas] said, ‘You know what, it’s more than comm, it’s information warfare,’ because he has that same war mentality,” said Loh. “We are not only going to defend ourselves but we are going to attack and I know we can do it inside this cyber realm.”
Leading the Air National Guard in cyber was the “hallmark of Paul’s career,” said Loh but, he had a solid career before that point. Maas reached the rank of technical sergeant and then commissioned within the 175th Wing. He has served in many positions including commanding at the flight, squadron, and group levels.
When Maas was serving as the commander of the 175th Communications Squadron he was approached by the chief of staff, MDANG, to work on a special project that took him in an unexpected direction.
“Col. Maynard Sheppard took me out of my comfort zone as a major,” said Maas. “I would’ve done that job for the next 15 years. I was happy there. But, he brought me to headquarters in 1999 to work a special project for the adjutant general around the formation of a specialized unit.”
That unit would focus on information warfare and cyber security. With a new trajectory and more military training, his opportunities continued to expand.
He has also served as the assistant to the Air Force Space Command commander where he advised on matters affecting over 5,000 Air National Guard forces and assigned personnel supporting operations in over 50 Air Force Space Command units. He served there for four years before heading to U.S. Cyber Command.
“When you look at when it began and when it ended it’s an amazing record of service,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. David Isaacson, Networks, Services and Strategy director during the ceremony. “So on behalf of Gen. Nakasone, Command Sgt. Maj. Lyon and deputy commander Charles Moore, we want to thank you very very much.”
During his career, Maas maintained his traditional guard status, “working one weekend a month,” while maintaining a civilian position at Dell Technologies, where he served as the director of Air Force and Defense Intel sales. This gave him the opportunity to hone his skills in the civilian world that complemented his National Guard service.
“I want to say thank you to my employer Dell Technologies,” said Maas. “You can’t imagine the amount of flexibility they’ve provided me over the 18 plus years I’ve been there. Every time I was extended or reassigned the Dell management team supported me 100 percent.”
Maas also shared his thoughts about what the National Guard can provide the people who serve part-time.
“I’ve spent my entire career in a support role but the National Guard provides an opportunity for young people to learn new skills and apply them in a military setting to accomplish the mission.”