The USC SHIELD Executive Program ’23; Global Defense and Deterrence – Developing leaders in Policy, Space, and Technology for National Security

“I need your help. We’re in a decisive decade, 10 year window that is our opportunity and necessity to tackle this era’s defining challenges. Look, we have government here, civilian and military. We have think tanks, we have academia, we have business, we have industry. So here’s what I respectfully ask you to help us go do. First, revise the theory of strategic deterrents. This is a long term effort that is going to take the best minds across government, academia and private industry. We have to grow the next generation of strategic deterrents thinkers to think about these problems.”

– Admiral Charles A. Richard | Commander, STRATCOM

MDAA is honored and excited to announce The USC SHIELD Executive Program ’23; Global Defense and Deterrence – Developing leaders in Policy, Space, and Technology for National Security. This is a joint program with the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy and Viterbi School of Engineering, and is an 8-month program designed to educate aspiring senior leaders from the military, government, and innovation technological communities about the intersection of public policy and engineering. It is designed to close the widening gap between theory and the practical application of National Security constructs.

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.

Read more about USC SHIELD ’23 here.

USC SHIELD ’23 Participants

Program Schedule

Session 1: September 15-17, 2022 (University of Southern California)

Thursday, September 15, 2022

  • 8:00am – Check In and Breakfast
  • 8:45am – Program Welcome
    • Riki M. Ellison
      Chairman & Founder
      Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance
    • Candace House Teixeira
      Associate Dean, Corporate Engagement and Programs Viterbi Admission and Student Engagement
    • Frank V. Zerunyan, J.D.
      Professor of the Practice of Governance
      Director of Executive Education and ROTC Programs
  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    • Introduction to the Policy Curricula and Setting up for Collaboration – Frank V. Zerunyan, J.D
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from Brig Gen Timothy Sejba, Space Force
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Faculty Lecture
    • The Engineering Life-Cycle, and Which Life-Cycle Stages are Most Influential On The Success of Missile Defense Projects – Neil Siegel, Ph.D
  • 5:00pm – Welcome Reception

Friday, September 16, 2022

  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Leading Complex Systems through collaboration and ecological organization – Peter J. Robertson, Ph.D.
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from The Honorable John C. Rood, MDAA Board Member and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Workshop – Peter J. Robertson, Ph.D.
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Capstone Development (LA Live, Los Angeles, California)

  • 9:00am – 2:00pm
    • Mr. Riki M. Ellison
    • The Honorable John C. Rood
    • Lt Gen (Ret) Jon “Ty” Thomas
    • RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery
    • CAPT (Ret) Zoah Scheneman
    • COL James B. Kavanaugh, USC SHIELD ’22 Alumni
    • Lt Col Joshua Wehrle, USC SHIELD ’22 Alumni

Session 2: October 21-22, 2022 (Online Interactive)

Friday, October 21, 2022

  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Organizational Behavior and Survey Design – Howard Greenwald, Ph.D.
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from Gen Charles A. Flynn, Commanding General for U.S. Army Pacific
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Faculty Lecture
    Overview of Data Science and Big Data – Seon Ho Kim, Ph.D.
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Saturday, October 22, 2022

  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Workshop – Howard J. Greenwald, Ph.D.
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from Mr. Stanley Stafira, Chief Architect of the Missile Defense Agency
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Faculty Lecture
    Common Errors in Engineering Assessment, and How to Avoid Them – Neil Siegel, Ph.D.
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Session 3: November 17-19, 2022 (University of Southern California)

Thursday, November 17, 2022

  • 8:00am – Check In and Breakfast
  • 8:45am – Program Welcome
  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Capstone Project Presentation – Frank Zerunyan, J.D. & Michael Falkow, D.P.P.D
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from Maj Gen Duke A. Pirak, Deputy Director of the Air National Guard
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Faculty Lecture
    Missile and Birth of Soviet Missile Defense – Berok Khoshnevis, PhD
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Friday, November 18, 2022

  • 8:00am – Check In and Breakfast
  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Intercept 1961 – The First Intercept of A Long-Range Ballistic – Mike Gruntman, Ph.D.
    Exploiting the Growing Synergy of Engineering with other Disciplines to Eliminate Extraneous Design Iterations and Maximize Coverage of High-Risk Scenarios- Azad Madni, Ph.D.
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from RADM (Ret) Vic Mercado
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Capstone Project Session
    MDAA Expert Panel
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Saturday, November 19, 2022

  • Site visit to Vandenberg Space Force Base

Session 4: January 26-28, 2023 (Washington, D.C.)

Thursday, January 26, 2023

  • Site visit coordinated by MDAA

Friday, January 27, 2023

  • 8:00am – Check In and Breakfast
  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Digital Technologies Enabling JADC2 (Joint All-Domain Command and Control) – Randall Hill, PhD and Ryan McAlinden
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from an MDAA Guest Speaker
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Faculty Lecture
    Big Data Management with Distributing Computing – Seon Ho Kim, Ph.D.
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Saturday, January 28, 2023

  • 8:00am – Check In and Breakfast
  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Collaborative, Participatory, and Intergovernmental Management – Dora Kingsley, Ph.D.
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from an MDAA Guest Speaker
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Faculty Lecture
    Workshop – Dora Kingsley, Ph.D.
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Session 5: February 24-25, 2023 (Online Interactive)

Friday, February 24, 2023

  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Decision analysis, risk analysis, multi-attribute utility theory, information theory, Bayesian analysis, and data-based decision making – Ali Abbas, Ph.D.
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from an MDAA Guest Speaker
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Faculty Lecture
    Team-Building, Motivation, and Conflict Management on Complex Engineering Projects – Neil Siegel, PhD
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Saturday, February 25, 2023

  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Institutional Design and Policy Evaluation – Policy Design Concepts & Analytics – Rym Kaki, Ph.D.
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from an MDAA Guest Speaker
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Faculty Lecture
    Workshop – Rym Kaki, Ph.D.
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Session 6: March 24-25, 2023 (Online Interactive)

Friday, March 24, 2023

  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Machine Learning and Its Applications – Seon Ho Kim, Ph.D.
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from an MDAA Guest Speaker
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Faculty Lecture
    Emerging Digital Technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence, “big-data”, etc.) – Neil Siegel, PhD
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Saturday, March 25, 2023

  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Workshop for February Lecture – Ali Abbas, Ph.D.
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 12:30pm – Presentation from an MDAA Guest Speaker
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Faculty Lecture
    Policy Formulation: Creating Credibility In A Set of Recommendations – Neil Siegel, PhD
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Session 7: April 27-29, 2023 (University of Southern California)

Thursday, April 27, 2023

  • Site visit coordinated by MDAA

Friday, April 28, 2023

  • 8:00am – Check In and Breakfast
  • 9:00am – Faculty Lecture
    Case Study of Machine Learning: Object Detection and Classification – Seon Ho Kim, Ph.D.
  • 12:00pm – Lunch Forum
  • 1:30pm – Break
  • 2:00pm – Faculty Lecture
    Case-Studies in Space, Air Defense and Missile Defense – Neil Siegel, PhD
  • 5:00pm – Conclusion

Saturday, April 29, 2023

  • 8:30am – Breakfast
  • 9:00am – Capstone Introduction and Presentations
  • 12:30pm – Lunch Forum
  • 2:00pm – Capstone Presentations
  • 5:30pm – Certificate Ceremony

We politely request that only faculty and the cohort be present during the certificate ceremony. Should you wish to bring family/ guests we encourage you to celebrate on or off-campus after the certificate ceremony concludes.

Faculty Instructors and Guest Speakers