Ned was the Covert Operations commander of ONI Section Three, in charge of every field operation by ONI, save the SPARTAN-II Program of Dr. Catherine Halsey. He was born in 2491, but his hair had turned gray before he was 40 years old. In 2552, he would be 61 years old.
He was an interesting man, preferring cheap whiskey to water. It is alluded to that Vice Admiral Margaret Parangosky had only been crossed by one person who survived. Parangosky, confronted with Colonel Ackerson's proposal, said, "Very well... I'll bite." Rich replied "Nothing new with that, Margaret."
He was opposed to the SPARTAN-II program and Dr. Halsey because the project had achieved a level of success he never could have with his own projects.
In 2531, he, Captain Gibson, and Vice Admiral Margaret Parangosky met with Colonel James Ackerson aboard the UNSC Point of No Return to discuss the creation of the SPARTAN-III Program. Rich approved. In 2537, Rich and Parangosky authorized the members of Beta Company to be recruited and trained, following the death of the entire Alpha Company Spartan-IIIs in Operation: PROMETHEUS.