Join the Alliance

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

MDAA is honored to announce the graduation of USC SHIELD 24 — our third cohort of the Executive Program in Global Space and Deterrence Certificate Program. USC SHIELD is an innovative program, at the right place, at the right time, and for the right reasons developed in partnership with MDAA and the University of Southern California’s Sol Price School of Public Policy and Viterbi School of Engineering. USC SHIELD has produced 18 capstones and 76 graduating students over three years. This one-of-a-kind program synergized the leading U.S. Military, US government, and industry practitioners of space operations, missile defense, and deterrence in an academic cauldron at USC of the nation’s leading educators. This year’s faculty included Dr. Neil Siegel, who was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by the President of the United States last October. This critical thinking cauldron coupled academic perspectives and expertise with our Nation’s up-and-coming military and government leaders. USC SHIELD 24’ took field trips to gather insight on their capstone projects at U.S. Space Systems Command, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Pentagon, and the United States Space Force’s SpaceWERX over the course of the program.

The graduation of SHIELD 24 at the University of Southern California put forward game changing powerful, relevant capstones in presentations to LTG Sean Gainey, Commanding General USASMDC, Maj. Gen. Nick Gentile, Deputy Director of Operations, US NORTHCOM, Brig. Gen. Robert Davis, Director of Operations for U.S. NORTHCOM and Director of Cyberspace Operations for North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Chief Helzer, Command Chief of the 316th Wing, RADM (ret.) Mark Montgomery, Director of Operations (J3) at U. S. Pacific Command, and Mr. Riki Ellison, MDAA Chairman and Founder.

The Six USC SHIELD 24 Capstones:

  • Pacific Partners: A Coalition Framework for Enhancing Missile Defense in the Pacific
  • Lt. Colonel Luke Balthazar, Colonel Fransisco Catala, Colonel Jeremy Davis, Colonel Dan Fowler, and Ms. Deanna Ryals

The United States and its Pacific allies face a growing missile threat, both regional and global, from the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. China has accelerated investment in robust missile capabilities, developing a formidable arsenal that can over-match the most powerful missile defenses in the world. North Korea continues to advance their own capability and increase the amount of launches per year. This capstone recommends a multi-tiered solution through a participation framework that matches each nation’s technical capabilities to their willingness to participate.

  • Reframing “Passive Air and Missile Defense” – A Path to Capability Resiliency and Deterrence
  • Colonel Keolani Bailey, Colonel Benjamin Hatch, Lt. Colonel Trevor Alexander, and Lt. Commander Matthew Quintero

To deter adversary air and missile attack and reduce the effectiveness of an attack below the nuclear threshold, the U.S. requires emphasis and investment in passive air and missile defense capabilities to develop credible, resilient deterrence. This capstone explores the scope of passive air and missile defense, what exactly it means, and then presents its findings through a policy, financial/acquisition, power projection, doctrinal, and historic lens.

  • Accelerating Solutions to Defend Against Hypersonic Missiles
  • Ron Christman, Julie Leeman, Devon Lindeboom, and Thom John Sooy

Strategic competitors are making long-term investments in offensive hypersonic missiles. The threat to American interests and homeland defense will increase rapidly over the next decade. This threat, especially from China and Russia, is outpacing current U.S. efforts to develop and deploy capabilities to deter, defend or defeat hypersonic missiles. The authors of this capstone assert that the US is being outpaced due to a combination of political, organizational, policy, and strategic factors.

  • The Promise and Peril of On-Orbit Logistics
  • Major Steve Zhang, Major Jeffrey Cashon, Walid Nasr, and Louis Melancon

The imminent emergence of a viable commercial marketplace for on-orbit refueling and repair will almost certainly change the character of orbital warfare by loosening, if not eliminating, the biggest constraints of maneuverability. How the U.S. government structures its relationship with the commercial actors in this market will have a significant impact on the operation of US government systems in orbit in competition, crisis, and conflict. Currently, assumptions rest on a continued monopsony by the US government for goods and services.

  • Strategic Enhancement of Taiwan’s Space-Based Capabilities: A Case for Reimagining Foreign Military Sales/Financing Framework
  • Colonel Justin Hodge, Brad Leonard, Colonel Minpo Shiue, and Marlon Thompson

How can the United States effectively develop and implement a Foreign Military Sales/Foreign Military Financing framework to enhance Taiwan’s space-based communications and intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance capacities through collaboration with Australia, Japan, India, and South Korea while navigating the policy and geopolitical challenges involved?

  • Acoustic Lily Pads: Innovation at the Speed of Deterrence
  • Dr. Nicholas Sassin, Colonel Jeremiah Tucker, Dr. David R. Baker, and Major Tyler Hunter

The war in Ukraine demonstrated the effectiveness of low-cost attrition warfare tactics with the use of cheap one-way attack drones. Missile defense in the Pacific has unique challenges of geography, distance, and technologically advanced peer adversaries, requiring a large-scale persistent sensing capability that will have to be affordable in a risky maritime environment.

USC SHIELD combines the most pressing policy and engineering challenges facing the national security of the United States of America in critical regions and domains around world to provide academic critical thinking solutions.

Click here to view photos of the April graduation session.

Click here to apply to be a part of the USC SHIELD ‘25 Executive Program Cohort.

Congratulations to our 2024 SHIELD graduates.

Trojans Forever.

Fight on!

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.