Mr. Paisley was born on Oct. 9, 1924, in Portland, Ore. He spent his early years in a logging camp, where his father was a logger and his mother was a cook. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in World War II, where he became a skilled pilot and downed several enemy planes over Europe. He received the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star.
After the war, Mr. Paisley studied engineering and was hired by The Boeing Company. In 28 years there, he rose to become Director of International Operations for Boeing Aerospace.
He established a close relationship with John F. Lehman Jr., who asked him to move to Washington after Mr. Lehman was named Secretary of the Navy. They established a reputation for brash, occasionally heavy-handed management and for slashing red tape that interfered with the Navy's expansion. Mr. Lehman was never accused of any misdeeds.
Before he headed to the Pentagon, Mr. Paisley received a $183,000 severance package from Boeing. Prosecutors sued him under the federal ethics law in 1986, arguing that such a large ''golden handshake'' would compromise Mr. Paisley's objectivity toward Boeing. The Supreme Court later ruled that such packages were not, in themselves, illegal.
In his Pentagon post as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, which he left in 1987, and later as a consultant to the arms industry, Mr. Paisley used his influence and inside information to guide executives from businesses like Martin Marietta and United Technologies through the procurement thicket, steering billions of dollars in contracts their way.
Released from prison in 1995, he spent his time painting and collecting World War II films. He was a consultant for a two-hour documentary, ''Shooting War,'' narrated by Tom Hanks and recently broadcast on ABC-TV, Ms. Paisley said.