The Army marked a historic milestone Nov. 20 when Brig. Gen. N. Lee S. Price became its first female program executive officer.

Price became leader of the Army's Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical during a Change of Charter Ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. This continued a historic era, marked notably in July 2008 when the United States Senate unanimously confirmed Gen. Ann Dunwoody as the Army's first female four-star general.

Dunwoody became the first female four-star general of the U.S. Army more than 37 years after female Soldiers began serving alongside their male peers. About 5 percent of general officers in the Army are women, which includes mobilized Army Reserve and Army National Guard general officers.

Another notable leader aiding the advancement of women in the military is Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia A. Pritchett, the senior enlisted leader for the Army element of the U.S. Central Command, who is the longest serving female command sergeant major in the service. Pritchett joined the Women's Army Corps in July 1973 before it was integrated into the regular Army. She will officially retire in March 2010.

The Army's first female general officers were promoted on June 11, 1970 when Secretary of the Army Stanely Resor promoted both Col. Anna Mae Hays, chief of the Army Nurse Corps, and Col. Elizabeth P. Hoisington, director of the Women's Army Corps, to brigadier general.

Price will now lead a workforce of more than 1,900 employees stationed across the world and an annual budget that exceeds $6 billion in 2009. She rejoins an Army Team C4ISR community, which she said seems to "always make the impossible happen."

PEO C3T develops, fields and sustains a vast range of capabilities fielded to units in training and in theater to regions throughout the world. These include power generation; satellite communications and network capabilities; digital tools to plan the battle; intelligence and situational awareness systems; current force radios and capabilities to sense and warn of incoming mortar attacks.

"Brig. Gen. Price is an excellent choice to lead this program executive office," said Dean Popps, acting assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.

Price will continue the efforts of her predecessor, Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, to rapidly field Army Team C4ISR capabilities in alignment with the Army Force Generation process; integrate multiple stand-alone systems within platforms and tactical operations centers into singular, standardized architectures and create shared efficiencies between the acquisitions and science and technology communities as technologies are transitioned between them.

"I thank you for what you have done, I thank you for what you are doing and I thank you for what you will continue to do," Price told the PEO C3T staff.

Price's previous assignment began in July 2007 as deputy program manager for brigade combat team - network integration of the former Future Combat Systems program, now known as PEO Integration.

During the ceremony, Popps presented the Legion of Merit Award to Price for her work in delivering an integrated brigade combat team capability to the Army in her previous assignment.

She received the Army Acquisition Excellence Project Manager of the Year Award in October 2004 when she was PM for Defense Communications and Army Transmission Systems.

As PM DCATS, she managed programs valued at more than $2 billion. These included a $300 million project to build a commercial communications network in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait; fielding the first Very Small Aperture Satellite Terminals to combat-service- support troops and more than quadrupling deliveries of Land Mobile Radio systems to numerous Department of Defense forces and government agencies.

Previous to FCS, she held a three-year tenure as the deputy acquisition executive for the United States Special Operations Command, where she was responsible for providing specialized equipment and products for Department of Defense special operators, which include: Army Special Operations Forces and Rangers, Navy SEALS, Air Force Special Operations Command, Marine Special Operations Command, the Joint Special Operations Command, and Special Mission Units.

Earlier positions include tactical integration manager for the Defense Message System, Defense Information Systems Agency, known as DISA; chief of the director's group working for the DISA director; and project manager, Defense Information System Network-Pacific, a $2.5-billion joint services program. She also served as product manager, Theater Automated Command and Control Information Management System in Seoul, Korea.

Price began her military career in 1975 as a private first class in the Alabama National Guard, and after being commissioned through Officer's Candidate School, she was transferred to the Signal Corps. She entered active duty in October 1981.