The Unified Intelligence Taskforce, formerly United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, also known as UNIT, is a military organization operating under the auspices of the United Nations (UN). Its purpose is to investigate and combat paranormal and extraterrestrial threats to the earth.
The precursor to UNIT was a World Security Organization set up by the League of Nations that encountered the occasional extraterrestrial incident, but was disbanded after it and the League failed to prevent World War II.
The roots of the organization lie in two such extraterrestrial incursions. The first was when two Dalek factions fought a battle in London over the Time Lord artifact known as the Hand of Omega in late 1963. They were defeated by a company of infantrymen from the RAF regiment commanded by group captain Chunky Gilmore, along with help from the mysterious time traveller known as The Doctor. Gilmore also had the assistance of a scientific advisor, Dr. Rachel Jensen. The model of a specialized military force with scientific assistance would form the basis of the future UNIT.
The second incursion was an attempt to take over London by a disembodied entity known as the Great Intelligence using robotic Yetis and a deadly cobweb like fungus. Another small group of British infantrymen, led this time by Colonel Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart of the Scots Guards, assisted by the Doctor, beat back the attempted conquest in the underground tunnels of the London.
Following the Yeti incident, the UN became aware that the world faced threats from extraterrestrial sources, and that with space exploration, sending unmanned space missions deeper and deeper into space, mankind had drawn attention to itself. Consequently, the UN established UNIT with the mandate to investigate, monitor, and combat such threats; the UN is given jurisdiction over first contact situations. Lethbridge-Stewart was promoted to the rank of Brigadier and put in charge of the British contingent, which was apparently under the purview of the British government's department C19. C19 gathers up alien technology for their own ends.
The newly formed UNIT's baptism of fire was an invasion by the Cybermen in 1968. UNIT repulsed this once again, with the second Doctor's help. Following this, Lethbridge-Stewart became convinced of the necessity of scientific advice in battling extraterrestrial threats, and recruited Dr. Elizabeth Shaw from the University of Cambridge. Coincidentally, the Doctor had been exiled to Earth by the Time Lords, and he agreed to join UNIT as its scientific advisor just in time to help defeat the Autons.
UNIT first operated out of an office building in London, and subsequently moved to a headquarters in the country that had been built over the ruins of a priory. Its main headquarters is with the UN in Geneva.
Organization and Equipment
UNIT's status is supported by enabling legislation that allows it to assume emergency powers when necessary. Although it operates under the authority of the UN, its members are seconded from the host country's military and are still bound to obey that chain of command. However, where such orders conflict, appeals can be made to Geneva. Due to the international nature of the organization, it is sometimes viewed with suspicion by local military and national security agencies who feel that it might impinge on their sovereignty. UNIT's existence is known to the public, but mainly as a security organization with scientific expertise; its actual agenda is classified, some believing it to be some kind of covert counter-terrorist unit.
Its personnel have a wide range of weaponry to call on, some custom-made to combat specific threats. Among these are armor-piercing munitions for use against robots and Daleks, explosive rounds for yetis, silver-tipped rounds for werewolves and vampires, and gold-tipped rounds for use against the Cybermen. UNIT has a command center established in the cargo hold of a C-130 hercules military transport aircraft. UNIT mobile HQ is a large bus-like vehicle that could be driven to the site of an incident. The flying airship Valiant is the newest addition to UNIT's complement.
Prominent members of the British contingent of UNIT included Liz Shaw, Sergeant Benton, Captain Mike Yates, Jo Grant, and later Harry Sullivan. Civilians who have worked with UNIT include the journalist Sarah Jane Smith. In 1971, an american agent named Bill Filer was sent from Washington D.C. to assist in the hunt for the Master.
UNIT has translation software which can decipher alien languages with great accuracy. The software, or at least the results from the translation, can be loaded on a hand-held device, longbow.
The French division of UNIT is named Nuit Nations Unies Intelligence Taskforce. The Russian division is named o perativnaya g ruppa r asvedkoy o byedinyonnih n atsiy, which roughly translates as United Nations Reconnaissance Operations Group. The southeast Asian contingent is UNIT-SEA.
By the 26th century, UNIT has transformed into a secret society called the Unitatus, pledged to defend the Earth against alien threats. The Unitatus lasts at least until the 30th century.