The Program

Program History

Chairman and Founder


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.

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 and policymakers of the United States. He has presented to the President of the United States and was invited by the Secretary of Defense to tour the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Pacific Rim and the Persian Gulf and has continued visits with United States Armed Forces stationed there. Mr. Ellison attended the National Security Seminar at the Army War College in 2009 and at the Air War College in 2011.

Amongst the achievements of this organization is the creation and building of two historic missile defense and veteran public memorials. One memorial is located at Vandenberg AFB in Santa Barbara, California honoring President Ronald Reagan and the other located at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. Mr. Ellison also established the MDAA Missile Defender of the Month and 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 Defender of the Year event brings together winners from the differing branches of the military that were recommended by their service, commanders and peers.

Mr. Ellison supports the United States armed forces by visiting over 100 bases throughout our nation and in forward operating bases around the world. Mr. Ellison is involved with supporting wounded warriors of the United States military, and those with traumatic brain injury.

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. In early 2011, the Youth Impact program partnered with President Obama's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Ellison played professional football 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 degree in international relations with a graduate emphasis on defense and strategic studies from the University of Southern California in 1983. 


Phone: 703.299.0060 | Mailing Address: 515 King St., Suite 320, Alexandria, VA 22314 | Email:
Home :: About Us :: Participants :: Partners :: Sign Up :: Parents :: YIP Stories :: Media Gallery :: Donate :: Contact

Privacy Policy  |  © Youth Impact Program