Before 1994, JWAC was a department of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD). Yet, its earliest form began as a program office during the 1981 Iran hostage rescue mission. At that time, several employees working in F Department answered a request from the Pentagon to help with one aspect of the mission. Although the rescue mission ultimately failed, the ideas that had been developed for it took root and grew.

Over the years, JWAC's mission has evolved and expanded to stay relevant to the evolving threats facing our country. Beginning in 2004 and in every year since, the command has deployed dozens of civilian and military analysts to theater to provide direct customer support to battlefield commanders. It currently keeps about half a dozen employees deployed to theater for this purpose.

To stay current and relevant, JWAC maintains a rigorous workforce training program. Employees are encouraged to spend three hours in professional development each week. The goal, as stated in the Commander's Principles is to prepare the “workforce to answer tomorrow's challenges.”

Historically, JWAC's employees have participated in community outreach and disaster relief. For example, teams responded to a tornado in La Plata, Md. in 2002 and to Hurricane Isabel, which caused widespread damage and power outages in the region, in 2003. More recent examples include the command's support for the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), donating more than $80,000 during 2011. Fund raisers are sponsored for the Enlisted Association, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, and a Christmas angel tree in cooperation with Rappahannock Area Project LINK.

JWAC employs about 500 engineers, scientists, military members, and support personnel at its headquarters at the Naval Support Facility in Dahlgren, Va. They are led by Colonel Michael R. Orr, USMC, the seventh commander in the JWAC's 17-year history and the first Marine in that position, and Mr. Robert A. Tolhurst, Jr., the Executive Director since 2004. Formerly a joint subordinate command of U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) in Norfolk, Va. for more than a decade, JWAC officially became part of U.S. Strategic Command in Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., effective 1 July 2011.