It's been a while since Aaron's been around these parts, and I'm not sure what, if any changes he plans to make to FDSI, to better integrate it into existing history, but here's his original post on the FDSI.
The Federal Directorate for Security and Intelligence
The Directorate is (only) nominally an arm of the National Security Agency, replacing the DIA and subsuming some of the intelligence gathering and counter-terrorist functions of the FBI. It has full authority on any case pertaining to, or exhibiting significant active involvement by, metahumans, those organizations known for using metahumans in their operations (such as FENRIS), incursions by entities of non-terrestrial origin (assumed to be part of its mandate as no such event has, to the public's knowledge, ever occurred), and any case involving elements legitimately identified as being under the blanket classification "paranormal."
Founded in response to concerns that existing law-enforcement agencies did not possess the necessary training, personnel, equipment, mindset, or organization to effectively deal with the growing numbers of "criminally-inclined" metahumans or paranormal events, the FDSI was officially signed into existence on September 12th, 1971, by President Nixon. This date was chosen because it marked the one-year anniversary of "The Virginia Incident," an orgy of destruction perpetrated by a single monstrously powerful metahuman and involving a 220 mile swath of devastation, the complete obliteration of an armored cavalry unit, the deaths of several hundred people, and hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage.
Though given a broad mandate by Congress, the Directorate remained undermanned and under funded until the Reagan administration -- with one of his first acts in office being the signing of The Federal Security Act of 1981, a piece of legislation which substantially increased the Directorate's budget as well as their legal powers.
The most visible elements of the directorate are the Sentries, those specially trained and specially equipped operatives who form the bulk of the active operations personnel. A recent addition as a ?spearhead? of sorts is the government sanctioned and supported "superteam" called the Arsenal of Democracy -- though small, they can call upon the full combat arms and logistical support of the Sentries, making them a formidable fighting force.
The Executive Director of the FDSI is a cabinet level position and, as such, is appointed by the president contingent to congressional approval. The current ExDir ,or "Metahuman Czar," is Lawrence Harcourt, former senator (Delaware, 1982-1988) and a highly decorated Colonel in the Army Special Forces during the Vietnam Era. The current Deputy Directors are Emil Kryzinski (Operations), J. Hamilton Crowe (Intelligence), and Colonel Tomas Pelovilla (Administration).
FENRIS is a large and predominantly terroristic organization. Though it claims to be global in scope, the vast majority of its operations take place in the western hemisphere. Its members are seldom identifiable as such as they wear no distinctive uniforms, and the dispersed cell structure of the organization prevents widespread identification of larger operations. Though they have been known to use various metahumans in their operations, such individuals are believed to be the results of the same experimentation which produced the Third Reich's Einsatzgruppen Uberkommanden, and have so far demonstrated the same fanatical loyalty as other high ranking members of the organization.
FENRIS was originally founded in the immediate aftermath of World War II. It was funded by, organized by, and primarily consisted of the large number of high ranking Nazi military, Gestapo, and S.S. officers who managed to escape the fall of the Reich (replacing what, in the real world, was the less militant organization called ODESSA). During the first two decades of its operations, FENRIS concentrated on politically motivated crimes that centered on Nazi philosophy, such as targeting War Crimes Tribunal members and early leaders of the state of Israel. As time passed and more of the old guard succumbed to the rigors of age (and the heavy pursuit of UNICORN and the Mossad), a new generation came to power within its ranks. More and more, FENRIS turned to more profitable and less politically-based ventures, such as mercenary-brokering, smuggling, arms-sales, and terrorism for hire. Today, only the trappings of its Nazi founders remain; FENRIS no longer actively pursues the founding of a Fourth Reich, even in lip service. Its goals are profit-motivated and more aggressively short-term; they no longer need to rule the world, instead being quite happy simply to exert their influence from behind the scenes.
This in no way mitigates their threatening nature, however. FENRIS has firmly entrenched contacts and "friends" in high places in the United States and many European nations. This infrastructural support, combined with their tactics and methodology, makes them very, very dangerous. They have little patience for melodrama or grandstanding, instead concentrating on efficiency and a brutal productivity. Stand in their way and they won't bother to threaten -- they'll simply kill you and move on with their plans.
FENRIS is very much aware that, even with the training, equipment, and numbers they have, that they cannot hope to stand against the actual armed might of any major national military force and therefore seldom allow themselves to be pressed into situations where they might face any more than a determined police presence. FENRIS learned several costly lessons in its early confrontations with UNICORN and The FDSI, and knows the value of carefully picking its battles. Losing a few cells or operations is preferable in the short-term to the level of damage UNICORN or The FDSI could cause in any open confrontation. Conversely, the authorities have learned that destroying individual cells or operations actually does very little lasting damage to the global presence that is FENRIS. The metaphor Deputy Director Emil Bryzinski of the FDSI is quoted as using is that he feels like the Norse Gods must have felt, working to keep contained a threat they knew that they could never actually destroy, and that they feared would ultimately devour them all.
U.N.I.C.O.R.N. (United Nations Intelligence and Crisis Operations Response Network)
UNICORN was founded in 1956 following a failed attempt by several European nations to coordinate their efforts in order to repel the original Starbane. The need for a fast-response force without individual national ties was eventually conceded by the UN Security Council, though it took almost a two years of frenzied negotiations between the member nations to decide its exact composition. UNICORN's mandate was finally agreed on: To act as a deterrent to metahuman threats and multinational terrorists, and to provide personnel and logistical support in times of disaster. Then Security Council Liaison James Alwell suggested the name UNICORN as a symbol of the organization's proposed nobility of purpose; his secretary, Alison Rynes, suggested the acronymization in order to placate non-Europeans in the negotiations, those whose cultures placed no signifigence in such a symbol.
UNICORN's history, as might be gathered, is one of compromise and, unfortunately, political hopscotch. As with the United Nations itself, the upper echelons of the organization are mostly filled with political appointees and compromise candidates -- leaving the task of fulfilling UNICORN's mandate to the "middle management," which is to say Regional Commanders, and the "grunts," which is to say the various operations sections. Nominally, UNICORN reports directly to the UN Security Council through its own Administrative Council, though individual regional commanders have traditionally taken great latitude in how they interpret that particular requirement. The single overriding prohibition governing UNICORN is that it is not allowed to involve itself in political conflicts between member nations or even cultural factions within member nations; therefore, in theory, no member nation may use UNICORN personnel and equipment against their neighbors or in their own internal political problems.
Member nations are expected to contribute to UNICORN's budget. This sometimes leads to vehement protests from member nations who don't feel that they are "receiving their money's worth" (there existing legitimate grievances that Europe and the western hemisphere tend to dominate policy decisions and manpower composition),or even outright refusal or inability to pay their share (the United States, for example, has refused to help pay for UNICORN ever since their own FDSI became operational); however, in recent years many private corporations and multinationals have replaced such nations as contributors (governments aren't the only ones with security concerns, after all).
The organization itself falls into four easily distinguished sections:
Administration: On paper, the ones who actually run the show; in practice, the bureaucrats who clean up the paperwork after the shouting is done. Their central headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium. Individual Regional Commanders are positioned as follows --Sector One/Geneva, Switzerland; Sector Two/Johannesburg, South Africa; Sector Three/St. Petersburg, Russia; Sector Four/ New Delhi, India; Sector Five/ Tokyo, Japan; Sector Six/ Brisbane, Australia; Sector Seven/Brasilia, Brazil; Sector Eight/ Mexico City; and Sector Nine/ Ottawa, Canada.
Intelligence: A far more efficient section than might be assumed from the policies that their superiors form based on their work. In many ways, INT-SEC acts as a sort of championship league for the global intelligence community, as they recruit heavily from M-5, M-6, the DGSE, and the BND, among others. Their official headquarters is in London, though they are rumored to have an unofficial (and far more important) headquarters somewhere in the Mediterranean.
Operations: The rank and file operatives and soldiers, this section has no centralized headquarters, instead operating under the direct supervision of the individual Regional Commander's offices. Operatives come from many different nations, though they are expected to keep their unit loyalty a higher priority than their patriotism. As almost a separate section unto itself, UNICORN maintains what it calls "Special Operations Group One," composed entirely of metahuman operatives. These operatives are highly prized by their countries of origin, and conflicts of interest have plagued the group since its inception in the late Seventies.
Research & Development: Overworked, underpaid, and largely ignored in favor of their more "glamorous" colleagues in Operations, these are the scientists and technicians that keep UNICORN's advanced equipment on the cutting edge (well....outside of the United States, that is). R&D traditionally has a hard time keeping its top-notch staff as private corporations, as well as the staff members' own individual governments, keep "stealing" them away. Central headquarters for this section is in Paris.
The FDSI was responsible for several sweeping changes to the Posse Comitatus Act, as well as the National Security Act of 1948. It handles both intelligence gathering AND law enforcement functions limited to all things metahuman. By that, I didn't intend to imply that in our world that the NSA and DIA have law enforcement capacity (though one could make the argument that the NSA doesn't adhere to some expected limitations ), but that the NSA [a.k.a. No Such Agency, a.k.a. Spook Central] is supposed to be the nominal power behind the FDSI in TAF's world -- and that the DIA lost some of it's toys and privileges to the boys at the Directorate. Me and some other poli sci nerds had a loooonnnnngggg discussion about what to restructure to make the Directorate work. If we ever publish the FDSI write-up, you'll get treated to the full back story and explanations.