The Supreme Headquarters of the Alien Defence Organisation, or S.H.A.D.O., is the world-wide armed force established in secret to deal with the threat that UFOs posed to Earth. Edward Straker, a former United States Air Force colonel who had supposedly "retired" into motion-picture and television production in England, is its commander.
Background to the formation of the Organisation
In the year 1969, a group of three outdoor picnickers in the English countryside came under attack from an unknown enemy. One of the picnickers was Leila Carlin, the sister of Peter Carlin, who was a military combat aviator of some skill; another was Peter himself. During the attack, Peter took the time to shoot photographs of whatever had attacked them, but was forced to flee without having a chance to get the photographs developed.
Peter Carlin was the only surviving picnicker. The other two (one of whom was named Jean, and the other one of whom was Leila Carlin) both died.
Soon after the attack on the picnickers, having traveled to Great Britain from the United States, USAF Colonel Edward Straker, a former NASA astronaut who had been a participant in the United States government's "Project Bluebook," met with James Henderson, a British general officer in the British Ministry Of Aviation. The two had occasion to discuss the undeveloped photos in the camera the picnicker had used before being forced to flee, which had been only the most recent such brutal attack. But the car that was taking both to a conference that had been convened to discuss the implications of this horror came under attack itself, and some of its escort personnel were run off the road before being killed.
The Organisation in operation
By the year 1980, the Organisation was up and running. It was run as a military operation--and one at war. It was concealed beneath Harlington-Straker Film Studios, a motion-picture and television studio based in England. Edward Straker was its Commander by this time, reporting only to General Henderson, and SHADO Colonel Alec Freeman, whose cover identity was as a featured actor in Harlington-Straker's "repertory company," was his second-in-command. As shown in "Identified," Freeman was engaged in a half-serious rivalry with S.H.A.D.O. Colonel Virginia Lake, who, later in the war against the aliens, took over as Straker's second-in-command.
Even though it maintains Mobiles, a fleet of four SkyDiver submarines with Sky One interceptors, a Space Intruder Detector, or S.I.D., and a base on Luna, Earth's moon, which last is equipped with three nuclear missile-armed interceptors, all giving it "teeth" against the UFOs, the S.H.A.D.O. still cannot say that its equipment is adequate, not even though the S.I.D., the MoonBase, and its Interceptors all employ utronic tracking equipment to give it "eyes." In reality, the S.H.A.D.O. barely holds its own against the aliens attacking Earth most of the time, being as it is up against superior though moribund forces.