Oct. 19, 2023 MOU signing ceremony. College of Engineering Dean Hahn (R) and MDAA Founder Mr. Ellison (L)

The Arizona AETOS Executive Program ’25

Oct. 31, 2023

MDAA is honored and excited to announce The Arizona AETOS Executive Program ’25; Arizona Near Space Studies Institute – Developing Technical leaders in Near Space Domain. 

The AETOS (Air Engineering TO Space) Program is a joint program with the University of Arizona College of Engineering leveraging its state-of-the-art facilities and world-class faculty to advance research and development of a wide variety of near-space (~80,000 feet and below) platforms and technologies. This range has a wide variety of utility from experimental platforms, command and control systems, quantum computing, photon communications, and negation platforms. It is an 8-month program designed to educate aspiring Technical leaders from the military, government, and innovation technological communities about the Near Space Domain. It is designed to close the widening gap in Near Space Domain for both civilian and military uses by the United States and its allies and adversaries.

The Arizona AETOS Executive Program ’25 is led by Arizona’s renowned faculty in 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’s hybrid design leverages innovative technology and in-person sessions that fully prepare students to lead in the field. The capstone exercise, which will be presented during the final session, will consist of group projects in which participants tackle some of the toughest problems facing government and military leaders in space and defense.

“Near-Space is a crucial domain in the future of missile defense and detection and investments made today in platforms and systems to operate within could make the key difference between success and failure in the detection and defeat of hypersonic threats high and hot as well as low, slow and cold threats to the homeland.”

– Mr. Riki Ellison, MDAA Chairman and Founder

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.

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Academics and Innovation

Mission Statement

MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.

MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.