Todd C. Helmus

Photo of Todd Helmus
Senior Behavioral Scientist; Affiliate Faculty, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Washington Office

Education

Ph.D. in clinical psychology, Wayne State University

Media Resources

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Overview

Todd C. Helmus is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. He specializes in disinformation, terrorism, and strategic communications. Helmus' latest research has focused on ways to counter Russian disinformation campaigns in the United States and Europe. His research also focuses on countering violent extremism with specific studies examining the networks of ISIS supporters and opponents on Twitter, identifying ways to enlist key influencers in support of U.S. strategic communications and developing approaches to assess the impact of propaganda campaigns. Helmus has served as a deployed advisor to U.S. commanders in Iraq (2008) and Afghanistan (2010-2011) and led studies on U.S. efforts to train Afghan special operations forces. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Wayne State University.

Selected Publications

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

Elizabeth Bodine-Baron, Todd C. Helmus, Andrew Radin, Elina Treyger, Countering Russian Social Media Influence, RAND (RR-2740), 2018

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

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

Todd C. Helmus, Miriam Matthews, Rajeev Ramchand, Sina Beaghley, David Stebbins, Amanda Kadlec, Michael A. Brown, Aaron Kofner, Joie D. Acosta, RAND Program Evaluation Toolkit for Countering Violent Extremism, RAND (TL-243), 2017

Elizabeth Bodine Baron, Todd Helmus, Madeline Magnuson, Zev Winkelman, Examining ISIS Support and Opposition Networks on Twitter, RAND (RR-1328), 2016

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

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

Commentary

  • Silhouette of several militants with rifles, photo by zabelin/Getty Images

    Are Counter Violent Extremism Interventions Effective?

    Government efforts to counter the propaganda and radicalization that lead to violent extremism are becoming more common around the world, but there's little research on whether such programs work. It is critical to conduct more research to tease out which programs are most effective.

    Sep 11, 2020 The RAND Blog

  • Examples of Facebook pages displayed during a House Intelligence Committee meeting on Russian use of social media to influence U.S. elections in Washington, D.C., November 1, 2017, photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    How You Can Fight Russia's Plans to Troll Americans During Campaign 2020

    The goal of Russian interference is to trigger emotional reactions and drive people to ideological extremes, making it nearly impossible to build a consensus. But Americans are less likely to have their emotions manipulated if they are aware that manipulation is the goal.

    Jul 14, 2020 Los Angeles Times

  • Visitors look at a painting by Saudi artist Hana Hajar in Riyadh, October 5, 2009, as part of celebrations to mark Jerusalem's tenure as the Arab League's "Capital of Arab Culture" for 2009

    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, write Todd C. Helmus and Dalia Dassa Kaye.

    Oct 14, 2009 ForeignPolicy.com

  • 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

Publications