Lieutenant General Paul Cortez was the commanding officer of GDI forces in the southern sectors, overseeing operations from the Southern Cross command center. He assumed command of the entirety of the Global Defense Initiative during the Firestorm Crisis.
Cortez did not receive much media coverage for his work during the events of the Second Tiberium War. After the Battle of Cairo, when a large-scale ion storm and atmospheric changes cut off contact between the Philadelphia command station and the planet, Cortez assumed command over GDI with Southern Cross acting as a temporary Global Defense Initiative command center until contact could be re-established with Philadelphia. He quickly formed the Firestorm Taskforce and siphoned off an experienced Commander from Project Lazarus to lead the campaign. Cortez was reputed as an arbiter and a good diplomat, establishing a sincere alliance with Tratos and the Forgotten. The Mutants proved invaluable in assisting GDI.
Cortez's skills proved instrumental to GDI's survival during the Firestorm Crisis, which helped save many lives as well as allow GDI to recover the Tacitus intact from the wreckage of the Kodiak with the assistance of the Forgotten.
The general reluctantly accepted a ceasefire offer from the Brotherhood of Nod, not trusting Anton Slavik to remain true to the deal. This alliance endured however, resulting in a joint attack on CABAL's primary core, the destruction of the AI and the retrieval of the Tacitus by GDI.
Following the events of the Firestorm Crisis, he was the head of the GDI Bureau of Mutant Affairs. When the supposed last CABAL bunker was found and officially detonated in 2043, he refused to attend the detonation event, dismissing his former enemy as a "(...) second rate EVA with a goatee and Napoleon complex".
He has received a Purple Heart and a Meritorous Service Award, among others.