Mr. Riki Ellison is the Founder and Chairman of 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. In 2017, Mr. Ellison was inducted into the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame. Mr. Ellison played college football at the University of Southern California, winning a National Championship and two Rose Bowls following a State High School Football Championship in Arizona. 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 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.
He is also 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. Mr. Ellison has been involved with missile defense since 1980, being introduced to it by then Governor Ronald Reagan’s defense advisor, Dr. William R. Van Cleave. 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 30 U.S. missile defense tests, visited U.S. missile defense base and platform sites over 450 times and has advocated for missile defense in 47 states and 34 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. There have been 348 service members from the U.S. and 17 Allied nations recognized since 2010 as the Missile Defender of the Year in their respective branch and region.