Network-based Metric for Measuring Combat Effectiveness

Youngwoo Lee, Taesik Lee


A conceptual definition of combat effectiveness is the overall capability of a force to produce a desiredoutcome from combat against an enemy force. An ability to measure combat effectiveness is critical to strategic andtactical decision making; however, it is a challenging task to develop an operational metric for combat effectivenessdue to the large complexity presented by the rich context of a combat environment. The present paper contendsthat, under a direct fire engagement, combat effectiveness can be reasonably assessed by the prevalence of attack opportunities a given force creates in a combat environment. The paper proposes a method to quantitatively measurecombat effectiveness of a military force in a direct fire engagement environment. The proposed metric is basedon a meta-network representation that captures various aspects of a combat environment. Using a meta-networkrepresentation, two types of basic unit structures of attack opportunity – isolated and networked – are identified,which are then used as a basic element for measuring combat effectiveness. Prevalence of network motifs in anetworked combat environment and availability of attack opportunities are computed as a measure of a militaryforce’s combat effectiveness.

Defence Science Journal, 2014, 64(2), pp. 115-122. DOI:


Network centric warfare, combat effectiveness, meta-matrix, network model

Full Text:



Defence Science Journal (DSJ)