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It is unclear exactly when the S.H.I.E.L.D. global security agency was founded. Hawkeye once claimed that he and Nick Fury founded S.H.I.E.L.D. late in the Cold War. However, a little over ten years ago, Fury was attached to an army unit (possibly part of S.H.I.E.L.D.) escorting Weapon X, then a single mutant operative. At some point in the last decade, with the global mutant population increasing, S.H.I.E.L.D. expanded into a multi-national organization with thousands of agents worldwide. Within its security remit it policed scientific advances, both technological and genetic; to keep S.H.I.E.L.D. ahead of the opposition, it also ran its own R&D programs. Colonel Wraith headed Weapon X, by then a counter-terrorism unit exploiting captive mutants. Colonel Fury's section handled the Super-Soldier Project (trying to duplicate the process which empowered Captain America) and policed violations of the superhuman test ban treaty. Convinced the next war would be a genetic one, Fury commissioned civilian corporations such as Oscorp to develop a super-soldier serum for S.H.I.E.L.D. Tech and Psi-Divisions were established, as well as regional branches, such as Britain's S.T.R.I.K.E. General Ross oversaw all aspects, and also personally monitored the Baxter Building genius hothouse.

After losing S.H.I.E.L.D. funding, Oscorp developed the Oz Compund, which led to several mutations including Norman Osborn and Peter Parker (Spider-Man). Fury took a personal interest in both cases, planting Agent Bradley at Peter's school and covertly monitoring Osborn. Following the mutant terrorist Magneto's attack in Washington, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s budget was expanded; Weapon X was shut down (the current administration did not condone its abduction of innocent mutants), and replaced with a small volunteer superhuman defense unit, the Ultimates. Disapproving of these plans, Wraith attempted to murder Ross. With Ross incapacitated, Fury became the new head of S.H.I.E.L.D., executed Wraith, and closed down Weapon X. Promoted to General, he moved S.H.I.E.L.D.'s main base to the Triskelion in New York harbor.

S.H.I.E.L.D.'s next few months were busy. The Ultimates were publicly launched, while S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrested Doctor Octopus and the Sandman, closed down Justin Hammer's illegal genetics lab, helped Spider-Man bring down the Green Goblin (a transformed Norman Osborn), and aided the X-Men in hunting down rogue mutant David Xavier. However, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s greatest losses and victories came in repelling the Chitauri, shapeshifting alien infiltrators. A S.H.I.E.L.D. flotilla of heli-carriers was destroyed in a nuclear ambush with the loss of 20,000 operatives, but the survivors rallied Earth's forces to destroy the Chitauri armada.

When Magneto threatened global destruction, S.H.I.E.L.D. rounded up mutants connected to the terrorist and imprisioned them in Camp X-Factor, Guantanamo Bay. Following this crisis, the X-Men were brought under Fury's jurisdiction. Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. illegally housed many genetically modified criminals in a research facility where they could be studied by Hank Pym (Giant Man); eventually, Osborn led a breakout and tried to blackmail the President into firing Fury, but Osborn's "Six" were finally recaptured on the White House lawn. Black Ops Agent Karma helped uncover a conspiracy within the upper echelons of government, and when Harry Osborn proved to be mutated like his father, a S.H.I.E.L.D. squad, led by Fury, took him into custody. Most notably, S.H.I.E.L.D. coordinated Earth's defenses against another extra-terrestrial threat, the world destroyer Gah Lak Tus. A foreign super-army recently destroyed the Triskelion, slaughtered countless S.H.I.E.L.D. troops, captured the Ultimates and occupied major American cities; whether S.H.I.E.L.D. can recover from this disaster remains to be seen.

Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
Carol Danvers

Known Members of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
Timothy Dugan
Agent Sharon Carter
Agent James Woo
Agent Clay Quartermain
Dr. Jennifer Walters
Betty Ross
The Tinkerer

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
Typical S.H.I.E.L.D. Soldiers
Typical S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents
Typical S.H.I.E.L.D. Sentinels
Typical S.H.I.E.L.D. Hulkbusters
Typical S.H.I.E.L.D. Super-Soldiers
Typical S.H.I.E.L.D. Rocketmen
Typical S.H.I.E.L.D. Goliaths
Typical S.H.I.E.L.D. Spider-Slayer

Former Members:
General Ross
Colonel John Wraith
General Nick Fury
Dr. Bruce Banner
Dr. Henry Pym
Betsy Braddock

Base of Operations:
The Triskelion

S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-Carrier
Air Force Jets
S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicopters
Various Weapons