Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Committee Director

C. Ariel Pinto

Committee Member

Holly Handley

Committee Member

Pilar Pazos-Lago

Committee Member

Jang Park


The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) Lethality and Effectiveness Branch is the Navy’s subject matter experts (SME) on target vulnerability, weapon lethality, and weapon effectiveness. Branch personnel currently exercise expertise in the kinetic and directed energy weapon domains. When the Navy develops weapons in the kinetic and directed energy domains, there are clear and well established procedures and methodologies for performing target characterization that support weapon-target pairing. Algorithms exist to describe the likelihood of damage effects. It is natural that in the paradigm shift to cyberspace warfare that the Branch provide these same services to the warfighter in the cyber domain. In simplistic terms, cyberspace lethality is the opposite side of the cybersecurity coin. Rather than protecting own-systems, a cyber-offensive capability is applied to an adversary’s network to disrupt normal operations. However, there are currently no established procedures or methodologies for performing cyberspace target vulnerability characterization (CTVC) or cyber lethality and effectiveness analyses. Nor is there any organization currently dedicated to performing these tasks. Previous efforts were conducted stand-alone and did not produce a meaningful or accepted methodology. This dissertation is intended to research existing lethality prediction processes for kinetic and directed energy weapons and modify them for the new cyber weapon realm such that the new methodologies will allow analysts to perform effective and efficient CTVC and cyber weapon lethality performance assessments. The methodology will be presented to the Joint Technical Coordinating Group for Munitions Effectiveness for consideration and adaptation. The cyber lethality research and methodology development has the support of NSWCDD management which has designated cyber warfare engineering to be a thrust within the NSWCDD 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. This thrust includes providing support for offensive cyber operations through the experimentation, development, test and evaluation, training, integration, and certification of combat and weapon systems that will allow the naval commander to project power by the application of force in or through cyberspace.