Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Founded to combat technologically advanced threats on world security (specifically the menace of Hydra), S.H.I.E.L.D. has, throughout the years, remained on the front lines fighting terrorism and extraterrestrial menaces as an international intelligence agency.
In its original incarnation, S.H.I.E.L.D. stood for 'Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-enforcement Division', and was a branch of the United States government. Veteran spy and soldier Colonel Nick Fury had set out plans for the organization at some point after World War II, but decided not to act since he felt the U.S. government would deny such a request. A United Nations-based international group somehow obtained the plans, and presented them to the U.S. government as a viable countermeasure against the nascent threat of Hydra. S.H.I.E.L.D. was subsequently formed without Fury's knowledge.
Fury first realized that his brainchild had been made reality when he was approached by the founders of the group to act as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Public Director, as his predecessor Rick Stoner had met an untimely end. While Fury acted as the operational head of the agency, he answered to these founders, the Executive Board, whose identities were hidden even from him.
The equipment of S.H.I.E.L.D. has always been at least as distinctive as its membership. A series of flying fortresses invariably known as the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier served as the mobile headquarters of the organization. One of the most distinctive inventions was the Life-Model Decoy (LMD), an extremely lifelike android designed to emulate the behavior of a specific individual, usually used to replace someone in danger of being killed.
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