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Mr. Riki Ellison


Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder

Mr. Riki Ellison is the Founder and Chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance; a non-profit organization launched in 2002 with a singular purpose and mission to drive for the deployment, development and evolution of missile defense. Since its founding, the organization has grown to over 14,000 members across the world and has emerged as the top lay expert voice on missile defense in the world. Mr. Ellison has been in attendance of 25 U.S. missile defense tests, visited over 200 U.S. missile defense base and platform sites and has advocating for missile defense in 43 states and 12 countries.


As a renowned expert among his peers in the field of missile defense, over the past 30 years, Mr. Ellison is frequently sought after for his expertise by administration, military officials, congressional members, international and national press and policymakers of the United States. He has been interviewed by top media outlets in the nation and internationally including but not limited to: BBC, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX News, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Reuters. Mr. Ellison has helped pass over 10 Congressional and State Resolutions on behalf of missile defense.


Amongst the achievements of Mr. Ellison is the creation and building of two historic missile defense and veteran public memorials. One memorial is located at Vandenberg AFB in California honoring President Ronald Reagan and the other located at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii dedicated with the late Senator Daniel Inouye. Mr. Ellison also established the annual “Missile Defender of the Year Award Ceremony.” 

These awards are given to the best United States missile defense soldier, sailor, airman and national guardsmen from each of the military services involved with missile defense. The Korea Peninsula Defender of the Year annual award ceremony between the United States and the Republic of Korea was established in Seoul, Korea by Mr. Ellison in 2012 in furthering recognition for United States and Allied missile defense forces. The NORAD and US NORTHCOM Missile Warning and Defender of the Year with the United States and Canada were also established by Mr. Ellison in 2013. Most recently, Mr. Ellison expanded MDAA's advocacy to Europe with the establishment of the European Missile Defender of the Year Awards Ceremony in 2014. The  inaugural  gala was held in Kaiserslautern, Germany in April 2014. In recognition of the contributions of the state of Alaska to homeland missile defense, Ellison instituted the Alaska Defender of the Year Award Ceremony in May 2014. The award recognizes the best among the Alaska Army and Air National Guard who operate in the Ground Based Midcourse system. 


Mr. Ellison is also involved with supporting wounded warriors of the United States military, and those with traumatic brain injury. In 2011, Mr. Ellison brought the National Football League and the United States Army together on TBI that resulted in a partnership announced in 2012, by the Commissioner of the NFL and the Chief of the United States Army.


In 2005, Mr. Ellison founded the Youth Impact Program for disadvantaged and at-risk adolescent boys in our nation’s inner-cities. The Youth Impact Program is in several of our nation’s major cities and universities. The Youth Impact program has been recognized twice by the United States Congress in Senate and House Congressional Resolutions for its overall achievements, innovation and impact.  


Earlier in his career, Mr. Ellison played professional football for 10 years as a starting middle linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, winning three Super Bowl championships. Mr. Ellison played college football at the University of Southern California, winning a National Championship and two Rose Bowls. Mr. Ellison earned a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations with a graduate emphasis on Defense and Strategic Studies from the University of Southern California in 1983. Mr. Ellison attended the National Security Seminar at the Army War College in 2009 and the National Security Seminar at the Air War College in 2011. Mr. Ellison also attended the University of Notre Dame where he attended a Business Management and Entrepreneurial program in 2013. Mr. Ellison is currently an Ambassador for the NFL's Heads Up Safety Initiative.

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