Todd C. Helmus

Todd C. Helmus
Senior Behavioral Scientist; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office


Ph.D. in clinical psychology, Wayne State University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Todd Helmus is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and a nationally recognized expert on disinformation and violent extremism. He specializes in the use of data and evidence-based strategies to understand and counter disinformation and extremism. He has studied the disinformation threat posed by deepfakes, Russian-led propaganda campaigns targeting the United States and Europe, and the use of social media by violent extremist groups. He has also led research on the effectiveness of online interventions to prevent radicalization. 

In addition to his research, Helmus is a frequent speaker at security conferences. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Departments of Defense, State, and Homeland Security and has served as a deployed analyst to U.S. military commands in Iraq and Afghanistan. His work has been featured in various media outlets including the New York Times, the Financial Times, The Atlantic, Harpers Magazine, Forbes and MSNBC.   

Helmus holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.

Selected Publications

Helmus, Todd C., James V. Marrone, Marek N. Posard, and Danielle Schlang, Russian Propaganda Hits Its Mark: Experimentally Testing the Impact of Russian Propaganda and Counter-Interventions, RAND Corporation (RR-A704-3), 2020

Helmus, Todd C., Artificial Intelligence, Deepfakes, and Disinformation: A Primer, RAND Corporation (PE-A1043-1), 2022

Helmus, Todd C., Marta Kepe, A Compendium of Recommendations for Countering Russian and Other State-Sponsored Propaganda, RAND Corporation (RR-A894-1), 2021

Helmus, Todd C., Hannah Jane Byrne, and King Mallory, Countering Violent Extremism in the U.S. Military, RAND Corporation (RR-A1226-1), 2021

Helmus, Todd C., Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, Andrew Radin, Madeline Magnuson, Joshua Mendelsohn, William Marcellino, Andriy Bega, and Zev Winkelman, Russian Social Media Influence: Understanding Russian Propaganda in Eastern Europe, RAND Corporation (RR-2237), 2018

Helmus, Todd C., S. Rebecca Zimmerman, Marek N. Posard, Jasmine L. Wheeler, Cordaye Ogletree, Quinton Stroud, and Margaret C. Harrell, Life as a Private: A Study of the Motivations and Experiences of Junior Enlisted Personnel in the U.S. Army, RAND Corporation (RR-2252-A), 2018

Helmus, Todd C., Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, Empowering ISIS Opponents on Twitter, RAND Corporation (PE-227-RC), 2017

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

Honors & Awards

  • Gold Merit Award (2010), RAND
  • Bronze Merit Award (2021), RAND
  • Silver Merit Award (2022), RAND

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Bloomberg TV; Gray DC; Here and There, Santa Fe Public Radio; MSNBC; NPR, Morning Edition; Voice of America; WUSA-DC