Established in 1963, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD), then called the Naval Ship Missile Systems Engineering Station, provided overall technical support for guided missiles (Terrier, Talos and Tartar) that were being introduced to the naval fleet. The command opened for business with six military, 38 civil service, and 14 contractor personnel to support 45 ships with a total of 124 systems. Chartered as an In-Service Engineering Agent, the newly established organization emphasized onboard assistance to ship crews, fully understood the operational environment, analyzed problems and requirements, and developed engineering and logistics improvements to the guided missile systems. Over the years the command's responsibilities expanded beyond missiles, assuming engineering work for many new weapon and combat systems used by the Navy's surface fleet, logistics support, and Underway Replenishment.
The main focus of engineering technology shifted to highly integrated systems. The station's involvement with naval surface combat systems grew to encompass the entire life cycle of weapon and combat systems, including the Aegis weapon system. Today, the command consists of three locations-Port Hueneme, Virginia Beach, and White Sands-and supports new technologies and innovations to sustain a wide variety of weapon, combat, and warfare systems. NSWC PHD is focusing its technical capabilities on Next Generation in-service engineering, which involves direct connectivity to the fleet on a global basis and the immediate availability of round-the-clock access to products, services and fleet support capabilities.