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Riki Ellison, founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance and three-time Super Bowl champ, prepares to throw a football to an awardee during the Korean Peninsula Missile Defender of the Year banquet Nov. 21, 2014, at the Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul. The Republic of Korea is the first allied nation to be included in the missile defense competition. (Photo by: Staff Sgt. Heather A. Denby, 35th ADA Public Affairs)

Today, an article from Fox News was published on the front-page interviewing Riki Ellison, Chairman & Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA). 

US missile defense requires greater investment, modernization, expert says

Written by Peter Aitken

“The U.S. must invest more in its missile defense system to prepare for the growing and advancing threat of weapons capabilities as China and other nations start to acquire hypersonic weapon capabilities, a missile defense advocate told Fox News Digital.

“We’re below one and a half percent of our defense budget on defensive capabilities,” said Riki Ellison, former NFL linebacker and founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance. “That’s pretty ridiculous. The most vocal is the Department of Defense because that’s what it is. So, we are way off balance with lack of defensive capabilities.”

Most people would not see missile defense as the next step following retirement from professional sports, but three-time Super Bowl champ Ellison, born in New Zealand, had worked on the atmospheric re-entry system for Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale.

When he was not training for the NFL, Ellison was working on the second-ever hit-to-kill intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) interceptor system. 

“I was falling in love with the concept that we could shoot down mankind’s worst possible weapon, and I [still] believe in that,” Ellison said during an exclusive interview. After retiring from the NFL, he took a two-year sabbatical before returning to Washington, D.C., in the early 1990s to work on ground-based missile defense systems.

Ellison started working again at a time when missile defense systems took on a greater focus, and following a statement by then-President Clinton that no country outside the five major nuclear powers – U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China – would develop significant ballistic missile capabilities until 2010, thus downplaying the threat that such weapons might pose.

The statement, made in the 1995 National Intelligence Estimate, prompted Congress to form the Rumsfeld Commission in 1998. The commission reached an opposing conclusion, stating that several countries were developing ballistic capabilities and claimed that the U.S. intelligence network was not able to track the developments.

However, the attack on Sept. 11, 2001, and the first North Korean missile launch over Japan caused a “critical shift” on missile defense.

Ellison discussed a presidential directive to “deploy the first-ever ground-based interceptors in Alaska,” which created a total 50-state defense, including the U.S. Capitol region, from cruise missiles. The technology took three years to deploy…”

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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.