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The International Oversight Advisory (IOA) is an organization designed and set up by several Earth governments to oversee the Stargate program, the Atlantis expedition and the Destiny expedition. It was originally formed as a compromise with Stargate Command Commander Major General Henry Landry, which allowed an international and civilian oversight organization de-facto control in exchange for continued funding. (SG1: "The Ties That Bind")
The IOA's jurisdiction gives them the power to give orders to Stargate Command personnel, and recommend or recall personnel from Stargate facilities, though the IOA is often forced to allow operations to proceed how they want.
IOA personnel are generally portrayed as being nothing more than arrogant, selfish, greedy, close-minded and xenophobic control-freaks, typically presented as attempting to force the Stargate teams and offworld operations to proceed according to their views and attempting to pass the blame when operations go wrong, most notably when the Atlantis expedition's experiments with the Wraith Iratus bug retrovirus- resulting in the creation of the Human-Wraith Hybrid Michael Kenmore- resulted in the Wraith gaining information about how to reach Earth before the Hive ships were destroyed; Dr. Elizabeth Weir mainly retained her job long enough for the crisis to be dealt with due to the IOA's unwillingness to take personal responsibility for coming up with a plan to stop the Wraith attack, and even then they attempted to arrange an investigation to have her removed for dereliction of duty after the Wraith Hives were defeated. With time, however, the IOA's leaders became more sympathetic and open-minded to change from the strict policies and directives they force others to enforce. Generally, however, members of the SGC and Atlantis hold the IOA in disdain. A particular example of the IOA's continued arrogance was when they forced Colonel Samantha Carter to "step down" from her position as Atlantis's commander after Carter had spent a year in charge, all so that Richard Woolsey could take her place- the IOA apparently reasoning that Woolsey's command policy would be more in line with their own although Woolsey quickly realized that he couldn't follow the IOA's policies when faced with the normal hazards of life in the Pegasus Galaxy. (SGA: "No Man's Land", "Search and Rescue", "The Seed")
During the Ori crusade, the IOA green-lit a mission to the Ori home galaxy in order to locate the Ark of Truth as well as destroy the Supergate. However, they did not believe the plan would secure victory against the threat Earth faced and ordered James Marrick to use the Asgard computer core to recreate the Replicators in order to unleash them against the Human followers of the Ori. Once the threat had been neutralized, the IOA would initiate a self-destruct code built into the Replicators. However, it grew out of control and the Replicators tried to disable the code only to be shut down. The IOA later apologized to SG-1 for their actions. (SG1: "The Ark of Truth")
When Atlantis was on Earth, the IOA refused to let it leave, claiming they didn't want to make undue choices. Richard Woolsey later commented that the IOA prefers to take no action and let others make decisions for them, something he admits to being greatly frustrated by when he was their American representative. The IOA later began pushing to make Atlantis a sovereign state under their jurisdiction. With Atlantis under the IOA's full control on Earth, they could use it to force other countries to accept their wishes and effectively become the first planetary government. They later began efforts to dismantle Atlantis for the technology within. In a last desperate attempt to stop them, General Jack O'Neill, conspiring with Woolsey and Colonel Samantha Carter, used the fact that Atlantis was in US territorial waters to seize control for himself. As this put Atlantis fully into the hands of the US government, the IOA began to panic with Woolsey reminding them of how the US had jurisdiction while Atlantis was off the coast of California and Carter allowing any Atlantis personnel wishing to transfer to transfer to the George Hammond so she could easily transfer them back. In an effort to keep Atlantis out of full US control, the IOA agreed to allow Atlantis to return to the Pegasus Galaxy, claiming it had always been their intention. The IOA also attempted to appropriate the Wraith Todd for research purposes, but Sheppard, Beckett and Doctor Jennifer Keller placed Todd in stasis both to thwart them and solve the problem of his starvation. This enraged the IOA who could do nothing about it. (SGA: "Legacy: Homecoming")
International Oversight Advisory components include:
- Stargate Command
- Atlantis expedition (joint with Homeworld Command)
- Icarus Project - Destiny expedition (joint with Homeworld Command)
- Main article: List of International Oversight Advisory personnel