MDAA-USC Partnership

USC’s Global Space and Defense Executive Program Inaugural Cohort Graduates

The USC SHIELD Executive Program ’23 is a partnership between the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance and the University of Southern California (USC)’s Sol Price School of Public Policy and Viterbi School of Engineering. The executive education program began in September 2021 with the USC SHIELD Executive Program ’22 and fosters innovation in public policy and engineering, providing an exceptional development opportunity for participants.

Participants are drawn from a unique cadre of aspiring senior leaders from the military, government, industry, and innovation communities to develop the executive and leadership skills needed to grapple with today’s increasingly complex security environment. This includes new challenges from the burgeoning use of space for both civilian and military uses by the United States and its allies and adversaries.

The USC SHIELD Executive Program ’23 is led by USC’s renowned faculty in public policy and engineering, along with guest speakers from current and former senior defense officials, military leaders, and experts in defense policy, strategy, operations, and innovation.  The program will be conducted over the course of seven months from September 2022-April 2023, with a mix of in-person and online instruction two or three days per month.  Instruction will typically occur on Friday and Saturday to facilitate participation by working professionals.  Two in-person sessions will be held on USC’s campus in Los Angeles, California to provide networking opportunities critical for professional development.  The capstone exercise of the course will consist of group projects in which participants will tackle some of the toughest problems facing government and military leaders in space and defense, and will be presented during the final session in April 2023.

MDAA is led by Riki Ellison, a 1983 graduate of the USC School of International Relations and a recipient of a certificate in Defense and Strategic Studies at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Art and Sciences. Mr. Ellison was also presented the Scholar-Athlete Award of Honor by the David X. Marks Foundation. During his time at USC, he started at middle linebacker on the football teams that won the 1978 national championship and 1979 and 1980 Rose Bowls.

Academics and Innovation