Todd C. Helmus

Photo of Todd Helmus
Senior Behavioral Scientist
Washington Office


Ph.D. in clinical psychology, Wayne State University

Media Resources

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Todd C. Helmus is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation. He specializes in irregular warfare, counterterrorism, and security cooperation. Helmus has authored numerous studies that focused on improving U.S. efforts to counter militant recruitment and decrease popular support for terrorism and insurgency. Since 2010, Helmus has worked closely with U.S. special operations forces (SOF) in Afghanistan where he served as an advisor to U.S. commanders and led studies on U.S. efforts to train Afghan Special Security Forces. In 2008, he also served in Baghdad as an advisor to Multi-National Forces Iraq. Helmus is the lead author of Enlisting Madison Avenue: the Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Wayne State University.

Selected Publications

Todd Helmus, Erin York, Peter Chalk, Promoting Online Voices for Countering Violent Extremism, RAND (RR-130), 2013

Austin Long, Stephanie Pezard, Bryce Loidolt, Todd C. Helmus, Locals Rule: Historical Lessons for Creating Local Defense Forces for Afghanistan and Beyond, RAND (MG-1232), 2012

Lowell Schwartz, Todd C. Helmus, Dalia Dassa Kaye, Nadia Oweidat, Barriers to the Broad Dissemination of Creative Works in the Arab World, RAND (MG-879), 2009

Todd Helmus "Why and How Some People Become Terrorists," in Paul K. Davis et al., Social Science for Counterterrorism: Putting the Pieces Together, RAND (RP-1408-01), 2009

Todd C. Helmus, Christopher Paul, Russell W. Glenn, Enlisting Madison Avenue: The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation, RAND (MG-607), 2007


  • Fighting Terror the Cold War Way

    With much talk about how to "win hearts and minds" in the Muslim world, it's surprising that few are looking back to a global contest of ideas that the U.S. and its allies categorically won: the Cold War.

    Oct 14, 2009

  • Ad Men for U.S. Defense

    Improving the U.S. military's brand identity demands more than just a catchy new slogan. While communications can help explain U.S. policies, the behavior of every soldier, sailor, airman and marine is what ultimately determines how civilians view U.S. forces, write Todd Helmus, Russell Glenn and Christopher Paul in a commentary appearing in United Press International.

    Aug 20, 2007 United Press International