Developing Impact and Effectiveness Assessment Tool for Influence Operations

1:00pm - 2:00pm


On Tuesday, April 26 at 1:00 p.m. ET, Unconventional Weapons and Technology (UWT) Director Steve Sin and UWT researchers Megan Rutter and Rhyner Washburn will provide a virtual talk on the findings from their project Developing Impact and Effectiveness Assessment Tool for Influence Operations. You can view a recording of the event at this link. If you have any questions, please email the START events team at

Strategic adversaries and competitors of the United States have come to view influence operations as an effective, low-cost, and low consequence (for the influencer) means of advancing their goals and agendas. Given our adversaries and competitors’ view of influence operations, and the immense implications and potential consequences of them, there is a need for research that will advance the state of the art in detecting, characterizing, and countering state-sponsored influence operations. While there is a large volume of work that has been done to understand the nature and effects of influence operations, as well as exploring various methods to counter them, there is a dearth of work that examines how one can measure the impact and effectiveness of influence operations.

UWT is developing the “Influence to Action Escalation Model” (IAEM) and the “Influence to Action Chain Template” (I-ACT) to anticipate and measure to measure the impact of influence operations by determining an influence operation's likelihood to galvanize the recipients to exhibit outwardly observable behaviors. The model will be the first step in providing the U.S. intelligence, military, and other government stakeholders a new capability to systematically measure the relative impact and effectiveness of influence operations being conducted against the United States. When fully matured, this capability will allow the United States to prepare for, counter, and neutralize nefarious foreign influence operations more effectively.

Dr. Steve S. Sin is the Director of the Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division (UWT) of START, where he manages large research projects, explores new avenues for research, and establishes collaborative research relationships. Dr. Sin specializes in a broad range of international security, terrorism, and homeland security challenges. His expertise includes radiological and nuclear (RN) terrorism; illicit trafficking of RN materials; terrorist use of cyber domain; emerging technology; emergency preparedness and management; intelligence/counterintelligence operations, analysis, and exploitation; Northeast Asia regional security; and counter-terrorism training, exercise, and curriculum development. His expertise in Northeast Asia regional security is focused on North Korea, including its nuclear program; cyber capabilities; intelligence apparatus; regime survival; and leadership. His additional regional expertise includes South Korean nuclear program and infrastructure; North-South Korea relations; and Korea-Japan-China trilateral relations.

Megan Rutter is a Junior Researcher on the Unconventional Weapons and Technologies team at START. She has worked on projects ranging in topics from CBRN use by violent non-state actors, red-teaming and horizon scanning, and community-based violence prevention. Megan earned her B.S. in Criminal Justice and Psychology at Northeastern University and her M.A. in Security Policy Studies at George Washington University.

Rhyner Washburn is a cyber-intelligence researcher at START.