Imperial Security (Barrayar)

Imperial Security
Imperial Security
Sûreté Impériale
Aftokratorikós Asfáleia
Imperskiy Bezopasnost'
Lesser Coat of Arms of the Imperial Military Service
Active2846 - Present as Imperial Security
RoleGeneral intelligence
National security
Secret police
Foreign intelligence
Signals intelligence
HeadquartersImperial Security Headquarters, Vorbarr Sultana
Motto(s)I Live to Serve
Branch coloursRoyal Blue&Purple Red
EngagementsFirst Cetagandan War (2836 - 2856)
Second Cetagandan War (2876)
Komarran Conquest (2896 - 2897)
Escobaran War (2899)
Vordarian The Pretender's Civil War (2900)
Third Cetagandan War (2903 - 2904)
Hagen Hub War (2921)
Polian War (2962)
Black Mountains Campaign (2969 - 2971)
Aslund Crisis (2991)
Chief of Imperial SecurityGeneral Lucas Dredd
Alexandr Negri
Simon Illyan
Branch Coat of ArmsStemma ImpSec.png

The Imperial Security, better known as ImpSec, is a branch of the Barrayaran Imperial Service devoted to protecting the Empire from threats within and without. All personnel publicly assigned to Imperial Security wear silver departmental insignia in the shape of an Eye of Horus.
ImpSec, alongside with Military Intelligence Service and Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty, is part of Barrayaran intelligence system, but differently from both colleague services is in charge of both foreign intelligence, concerned with broad issues such as economics, political assessments, military capabilities and intentions of foreign nations, and internal security. This means that ImpSec is the sole general intelligence service, responsible for performing foreign and military intelligence, alongside with some internal security duties, in support of Ministry for Protection of Imperial Loyalty, while anti-crime intelligence is performed by civilian counterparts, mainly the Ministry of Interior. However, the Ministry and the Imperial Security are into a close working relationship, ImpSec serving primarily as the information-gathering agency and the Ministry as the executive agency of the system established for the purpose of combating the political and ideological enemies. This relationship between the Ministry and ImpSec is accomplished by the systematic co-ordination work among chiefs of the individual agencies and departments, as overseen and directed by the Emperor or the Prime Minister; operationally, this consultation is carried out by the Political and Security Committee.
The Imperial Security is responsible for supplying the Emperor and His Government with internal and foreign intelligence. Alongside the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty and Military Intelligence Service, it operates under the functional direction of the sole Emperor and Prime Minister. The Imperial Security also performs functions of political police: it cooperates with the local law enforcement agencies when the repression of offences has to be considered alongside safeguarding national security.
ImpSec, since Captain Simon Illyan's long leadership period, is organised with internal accountability criteria, in opposition to the internal secrecy of Captain Negri's command tenure, which was characterised by having little, secret compartments shared only with Emperor Ezar. On the other hand, the membership of the Imperial Security largely remained unchanged: most officers are assigned to ImpSec as first assignment, and likely remain there for the whole career, or move from (or to) both Service Security and Military Intelligence Service: under ordinary circumstances no ship-duty officer is assigned to ImpSec, in order to avoid officers which simply do not have the necessary experience about dealing with state security matters.
Due to the harsh methods used, ImpSec gained through the decades a very sinister fame: any average Barrayaran on the street feels at least fear and anxiety if confronted with ImpSec. In recent decades, however, alongside the secret spying and policing, ImpSec has taken on another level, more public and more "friendly": official Detachments often interact with the press and are integrated with local society in new "prevention police" and somewhat bland "political surveillance" roles. The "New ImpSec" is therefore in charge of various activities, ranging from close protection of Emperor and imperial top leaders and policy-makers to surveillance duties, being a sort of "advanced security" force and intelligence agency. However, ImpSec is still in charge of defence of the Empire from any threat which could be identified, and therefore it is capable of the harshest reactions.
It is keen to underline that ImpSec is a fully military body, and in many cases is just another assignment, slightly different from the major part of other branches, but still under the broad umbrella of the Imperial Service. The Imperial Service primary mission is to serve the Emperor, and ImpSec is a full part of that mission. Although the Imperial Security is a military corps, it is hierarchically submitted to the Chief of General Staff for disciplinary matters only. The Imperial Security is therefore among the "military forces" of the Empire but is not strictly part of the Imperial Service: as a military force, it depends on the Chief of the General Staff, but the Chief of the Imperial Security is not part of the High Command and as chief of a state security service is directly related to the Emperor and, if present, the Prime Minister. In its capacity of state security service, ImpSec reports directly to the Emperor, and co-operates with other intelligence-gathering and security military and civilian bodies. Other Imperial Service departments and branches are required to cooperate with ImpSec. The general provisions of the military regulations and laws are applicable to the members of the Imperial Security, subject to the modifications which have been established for them.
ImpSec employs many operatives who work undercover in the field. Some are military specialists, whilst others are civilian hires, including famous professors and scholars, who are recruited for their specialities and access. Local non-military operatives are graded from IS-1 to IS-9, IS-9 representing the highest level of security accessible to an operative agent.
The Preventive Internment Plan is the mass detention strategy to be enforced in case of a major war or of general security emergence: it involves widespread detentions of thousands of people and the reinforcement of the surveillance measures over other thousands of people. Every local section of ImpSec has to have dedicated lists and to perform local arrests, by groups of three men.
Often times, operatives and agents may not even know their head. When all else fails, it is upon the Agent to assume that they are being watched by a superior, and act accordingly. Most of the time, this paranoia is very justified, at least at home.



The Imperial Security traces its origins to the First Cetagandan War. Before the War, espionage and security services were performed from a variety of bodies and institutions mainly linked to Emperor Dorcas in his capacity as Count Vorbarra and liege overlord.

Dorca's Reign

The Imperial Security was formed as early as in 2845 by Emperor Dorca under the command of his trusted adviser Pierre Le Sanguinaire Vorrutyer as an informal but effective group; at first, ImpSec operated as a bodyguard corps to protect the Imperial Person from all threats, being understated that the main threat were his close relatives, but also Cetagandan hitmen.
This feature maintained its place through the decades and centuries. In 2846, the following year, the armed and physical personal protection services were formally separated, and the Imperial Security was formally established under a new commander. The first Commander of Imperial Security after the foundation years was Major Lucas Vordrozda, a close Dorca's protégé. Vordrozda's main challenge was to counter the Cetagandan efforts to behead the Barrayaran resistance.
Following the end of the Cetagandan occupation, the head-quarters were based within the Imperial Residence, with a secondary seat in a villa in downtown, where interrogations were performed and heavy assets housed.

Government Security Department

During the Cetagandan occupation of Barrayar, a secret police service was established by the invaders. In 2844 the Cetagandan military governor created the Government Security Department, which served as the Cetagandans' secret police, it was controlled by Cetagandan advisers, and Gabriel Keter was appointed Director. Keter was a former Cetagandan Imperial Security agent. In 2848, when the War changed decisively its tide against the Cetagandan occupation, Keter began a series of purges to try to cut away the foundation of the loyalist faction. The GSD arrested the most outspoken critics of the occupation, accusing them of infamous crimes. Keter replaced Janos Drex as collaborationist Minster of Interior, but fell from grace in 2851, and in 2852 he was arrested by the Cetagandan security.
The Government Security Department was never able to curtail the activity of the Barrayaran resistance and ended to be heavily infiltrated by Vordrozda's men.

Yuri's Reign

The personal protection role (alongside the related information-gathering duties) was maintained intact for the brief Yuri's reign. During the so-called "Reign of the Mad Emperor", ImpSec gained the responsibility for personal security of all the Imperial Family, as well as some forms of control over military and Vor families. Generally speaking, the Imperial Security was a somewhat minor security agency, cornered by the powerful and influential Ministry of Political Education. During Yuri's years, Chiefs of the Imperial Security rotated frequently, and ranked Captain (Naval) or Colonel. Under Yuri's reign the main see of the Imperial Security moved out of the Imperial Residence, moving to the Imperial Security Head Quarters building, a technologically advanced building designed by Lord Dono Vorrutyer, the Mad Architect, and completed in 2861.

Ezar's Reign

During Ezar Vorbarra's reign, the Imperial Security gradually shifted from a personal security and Residence protection agency to a secret police force, partly capable to rival the then-Ministry of Political Education, and began to establish its own spy network abroad. This growth was reflected by the ever-rising rank of the Chief of Imperial Security; although the last Ezarian Chief was a Captain (Naval), the post formally needed a Major General or a Rear Admiral and, in very latest years of Ezar's reign, a Lieutenant General. However, the real boom came for ImpSec with the disastrous Escobar Campaign and its aftermaths, when the Ministry of Political Education was ripped apart and physically destroyed. Since the beginning of the Regency of Aral Vorkosigan, the Imperial Security has been the main national security agency, its own tasks progressively encompassing all national security and foreign intelligence matters.

Vorkosigan's Regency and Gregor's reign

The Vorkosigan Regency marked an huge shift also from the organisational point of view: the divisional approach, which was under Captain Negri the norm with numerous small divisions directly dependent on the chief of the Imperial Security (and often known only to him), was replaced with the functional approach to internal organization, creating four geographical Departments and support divisions dependent on the Chief of the Imperial Security. Emperor Gregor maintained the dominance of Imperial Security, turning it from a purely secret organisation to a proactive and somewhat visible force. In 2978 the Central Command was established, in order to provide a controlling brain for the other sections, as well as handling personnel and financial matters.


The Imperial Security is the Barrayaran Empire's primary domestic security and foreign intelligence agency. Its core purpose is to uphold national security and neutralise both internal and external threats to Barrayar.
Internally, ImpSec is also a secret police force; its operations are not usually discussed publicly, and it is not restricted in the methods it is permitted to use to carry out its duties; it has has the authority to supersede investigations by law enforcement agencies if the issue is designated as a matter of state security. The Imperial Security is obliged to keep the Viceroy informed of their activities on the relevant planet, but ultimately reports to the Emperor.
Externally, of ImpSec is to support the Emperor, the Imperial High Command, and all Barrayaran officials who make and execute foreign policy by providing accurate, comprehensive, and timely foreign intelligence on all security topics, conducting counterintelligence activities, special activities, and other functions related to foreign intelligence and galactic security, as directed by the Emperor, providing advisory to all branches of the Barrayaran Empire on foreign intelligence matters.
To accomplish its mission, Imperial Security engages in research, development, and deployment of high-leverage technology for intelligence purposes. As a separate branch from the Military Intelligence Service (the other foreign intelligence agency), Imperial Security serves as an independent source of analysis on topics of concern and also works closely with numerous other organisations to ensure that the intelligence consumer - whether a Viceroy or battlefield commander - receives the best intelligence possible.


Both civilians and members of the military can join the Imperial Security. The most significant portion of candidates is recruited from the Imperial Service: they come mostly from Service Security, Military Intelligence Service, as well as other key departments or as their first commission. Often, military-drawn personnel continues to specialise about military or high security matters, maintaining their "military paranoid" approach. Some are purpose-recruited from the civilian side, generally for some special expertise, like high scientific skills, social connections and other field of expertise. Civilian-recruited personnel generally does not make outstanding careers, although it is not a stated rule nor an unofficial policy. For civilians, recruitment is advertised and is handled by the Imperial Security itself; civilian ImpSec agents are considered employees of the Ministry of War. The third source of personnel is the hand-picking by field agents.
The Imperial Security is a both security and intelligence organisation, in turn both internal and external and the information collection and analysis activity is one of the most important among these assigned to ImpSec: analysts contribute to form the backbone of the organisation. In order to guarantee a reliable consideration in information analysis work, no one is allowed to become an analyst without field experience.
In order to avoid infiltration, the Imperial Security does not accept any self-presentation, but selects its members on its own. It also has several recruitment criteria, both political and moral. The candidate must feel a proven loyalty to the Imperial legal and moral order and show a good political consciousness, as well as feeling a heavy sense of duty, patriotism, self-discipline and honesty. To examine the candidate, ImpSec also must have a good assessment of the coming social context, i.e. good general education, professional skills, high school diploma or higher title and so on. These criteria, although obviously differently considered for military and civilian personnel, are however unbreakable.
As required for the whole Imperial Service, candidates must have perfect health conditions, and in addition good possibilities of intellectual and professional growth. A severe obstacle to the recruitment within the Imperial Security is having a relative living abroad.
Before being recruited as an operative, and even before he could be informed that he may be recruited, the candidate must perform one or more mission as informer or spy in order to test political and professional reliability. After being approved, but before being officially recruited, the candidate undergoes an individual and specific training plan which involves courses at various professional schools: ordinary, investigative and police-related and ImpSec-only schools.
This procedure ensures providing high quality officials and operatives, as well as an effective wall against infiltration.
The vast majority of ImpSec’s executive leadership is made up of senior career intelligence officers. Most of the upper administrative bureaucratic echelon consists of professionals selected from within the agency itself. Traditionally, these positions are filled by seasoned intelligence analysts who had risen through the ranks. More recently, however, there has been an explicit shift to fast-tracking recent graduates.
The average ImpSec officer is usually a good security logistics officer and has some good investigative qualities; this does not grant a successful career within the Imperial Security; when ImpSec needs gifted logistics officers, it takes them from Operations or from other commands devoted to logistics. Those who have purely logistics and organisational qualities are assigned to the provinces, never to the Imperial Capital or to central duties.


Imperial Security has five major intelligence departments and several minor or autonomous services. Various Departments often do not interact or share information: this procedure is carried out on a case-by-case basis.

Chief of Imperial Security

Incumbent Chief of Imperial Security, General Lucas Dredd (2999 - current).

The Chief of Imperial Security is appointed and dismissed by the Emperor, by his own decree. The Chief of Imperial Security is not a military rank, but a direct Imperial appointment: while the job has traditionally been given to serving military men, this is not a requirement; furthermore, while theoretically the Chief of Imperial Security could be an external appointee, this has never been the case insofar. The position's pay had been at the level of a Vice-Admiral/Lieutenant General until General Allegre's tenure; since Admiral Pierre Danglard the post has been held on by a fourth level general/flag officer. The post is traditionally held by a serving officer, but the Emperor can appoint whomever he chooses, regardless of military status. However, the commission has a maximum duration of fifteen years and is renewable only once; on the other hand, the Chief of Imperial Security may be dismissed at the Emperor's own pleasure. The Chief of the Imperial Security refers constantly to the Emperor on its activities or to Delegated Authority, if that is established and submits to the Joint Council an annual report on the functioning and organisation of the Imperial Security.
The Chief of the Imperial Security is the supreme hierarchical authority, has direct command over all departments and units and oversees the smooth running of the service, discipline and administration of the Imperial Security. It is to note that the main role of the Chief of Imperial Security is to provide command, direction and directives and control to all other subordinate departments, in order to ensure an efficient co-operation between them; furthermore, he leads major intelligence operations and keeps inter-agency contacts, both within the Imperium and on the Nexus scene. That appointment is one of great responsibility, calling for unusual experience and a rare combination of qualities; but having got the right man there is no alternative to giving him the widest discretion in the means he uses and the direction in which he applies them.
The current Chief of Imperial Security is, since 2999, General Lucas Dredd, appointed in view of the handover between Gregor and Serg Vorbarra, in order to provide the new Emperor a high-ranking officer of the same generation and with whom he had worked in the past.
The "Alfa Magenta Team" is a special top-secret unit formed to sidetrack the investigation of the judiciary in the case of official investigations and judicial investigations. The "Alfa Magenta Team" is made up of operatives reporting directly to the Chief of Imperial Security but act mainly with agents of the Department of Domestic Affairs.

Internal Inspection Service

The Internal Inspection Service is a division of the Imperial Security which investigates incidents and plausible suspicions of misconduct attributed to agents on the ImpSec. Due to the sensitive nature of this responsibility, agents and operatives working Internal Inspection Service are not framed in a Department, but report directly to the Chief of Imperial Security. Within the Service, the Internal Security Office deals with surveillance over ImpSec members.

Antiterrorism Strategic Analysis Committee

The Anti-terrorism Strategic Analysis Committee (ASAC) is a standing committee of police and intelligence services. It is an important tool for sharing and evaluation of information relating to terrorism. The Committee is composed of the Chief of Imperial Security, with the function of the President, and by senior officials of the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty, of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, of the Imperial Police Force, of the Komarran Security Department and of the Sergyar Police Service.
Both the head of the Military Intelligence Service and the chief of the Service Security may be invited, as well as other relevant ImpSec officers.
The Joint Working Group on the Risks of Subversive Infiltration towards the world of Labour is a subcomponent of the Committee, focused on avoiding the birth of a terrorist threat within the working class. Differently from the plenum composition, this group does not include Military Intelligence Service, Service Security and Serious Organised Crime Agency elements, although issues needing of being discussed also by these elements may be brought to the ASAC top-level.

Central Command

The Central Command of the Imperial Security acts as the controlling brain for the other sections, as well as handling personnel and financial matters, including the payment of agents on behalf and under the immediate direction (but not management) of the Chief of Imperial Security. The Central Command is head quartered entirely into the Imperial Security Headquarters, shared with the other major departments, and it is clearly separated by the office of the Chief of Imperial Security. The Chief of Central Command is the most senior officer in the Central Command: he is in charge of the general co-ordination of various sub-branches and of the management of general services. The current Chief is Rear Admiral Iannis Papaudopolis.

  • Phantom operatives (outside chain of command)
  • Personnel Directorate:
    • ImpSec Troops Division;
    • ImpSec Seconded Personnel Division: the Division handles ImpSec personnel assigned to work in non-ImpSec and non-standard contexts. As a rule, from that Division officers usually directly go to the security departments of major state-owned corporations, banks or energy-sector companies;
  • General Operations Planning Directorate;
  • Information acquisition Directorate: the Directorate directs overall information acquisition activities within the major departments, although analysing its significance is strict competence of single Department;
  • Science Directorate;
    • Biowar intelligence and analysis Division;
  • Medical Service Directorate;
  • Operational Logistics & Support Directorate;
  • Housekeepings and Plants Directorate.
  • Computer Service (Information and Dissemination): analyses and distributes intelligence data and publishes a daily current events summaries for the Emperor.
  • Directorate for Co-ordination of the Economic Security: co-ordinates the Economic security units within the four major departments and it is organised into the same subdivisions (Arms Industry, Financial Intelligence, Industrial Espionage Division, Industrial and Commercial Security Division, Computer Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection Division);
  • Directorate for Co-ordination of the Counter-intelligence Activity: co-ordinates the counter-intelligence units within the three "internal" departments, as well as within the Galactic Affairs Department.

Division of Public Relations

The Division is in charge of making available to the public any non-censored information and acts as an information desk of the Imperial Security. It also releases census data and handles advertising and propaganda campaigns, as well as all public data collection.
The Divisional Chief serves as adviser to the Chief of Imperial Security and other senior leaders on media, public relations and communication matters. He oversees the daily interaction with the media, the general public and the ImpSec’s personnel. The Division also manages ImpSec's speech writers, who help prepare speeches and testimony for the senior leaders and write other communications for employees. The Division is composed of five Offices:

  • Public Image Office: the office chief acts as a spokesman for the Imperial Security and works with the public media to ensure favourable information is being given, while still protecting classified information. The office aim is to promote accurate favourable portrayal of the ImpSec's personnel, their mission and the commitment to public service that defines them (at least in official rhetoric). The protection of national security equities is always paramount in any engagement with the media industry.
  • Public Communications Office: the public communications staff manages interaction with members of the public by responding to letters, phone calls, e-mails, and faxes from the public. Any Imperial subject may contact the Public Relations by data-sphere, comm-link or other open communication media during our normal business hours.
  • Internal Communications Office: the internal communications staff keeps the workforce informed about news and information affecting employee’s professional lives and working environment by publishing an employee newsletter, managing the ImpSec’s datasphere dedicated datasphere homepage, promoting ImpSec public seminars and supporting internal events.
  • Legal Office
  • Centre for the Study of Intelligence: the Centre helps to promote the public image of intelligence activities in general and of Imperial Security in particular. The make unclassified or non dangerous data available for study to scholars and students, and it produces information about history of intelligence.

Imperial Security Administration Directorate

The Administration Directorate of the Imperial Security is a specialised body reporting directly to the Chief of the Central Command and to the Chief of Imperial Security and inserted into the Central Command itself. It carries out at the intermediate level the activities of the administrative services.
In particular, the administrative organisation of the Imperial Security is based on the Central Command, the Administration Directorate at the intermediate level and on peripheral organs such Units, Administrative Agencies and Detachments. The Administrative Agencies are the Departments and the Directorates, Administrative Detachments are the Offices and the Sections (and equivalent), while the Administrative Units are the remaining echelons.
The distinction between Administrative Agencies and Administrative Detachments is based on the method of financing and yields of the account: while the Administrative Agencies receive funds directly from the Administration Directorate and provide them of the accounting reports, the Administrative Detachments receive the administration of funds from Administrative Agencies and provide them their accounting reports. Administrative Units do not have budgetary autonomy and must, therefore, be authorised to perform or expenses by the Agency or Detachment it depends on.
The Administration Directorate is commanded by a Major General/Rear Admiral belonging to the Imperial Security (unlike the rest of the Imperial Service, which uses the dedicated service officers). The tasks carried out by the Directorate consist, in detail, ensuring the funding of agencies Administrative employees, performing the administrative functions assigned, exercising administrative control of against the Administrative Agencies, both by inspection, both in the accounting reporting, providing legal and administrative advice the Chief of the Imperial Security in relation to the decentralised administration, handling coordination with the various departments of the Central Command in its areas of competence and performing a supervision of the Agencies management.
The Directorate consists of:

  • Secretary;
  • Inspection Unit;
  • 1st Division: General Affairs;
    • 1st Legal Administration Office;
    • 2nd Contracts Office;
    • 3rd Materials and Vehicles Codification Office;
  • 2nd Division: Accounting and financial reports;
    • 4th Special Accounting Office;
    • 5th Accounting Reports Revisions Office - Money Management;
    • 6th Accounting Reports Revisions Office - Materials Management;
  • 3rd Division: Economic Treatment;
    • 7th Economic Treatment Office;
    • 8th Pension benefits Office;
    • 9th Fair Compensation Office.

Domestic Affairs

The Domestic Affairs Department is concerned with a range of duties: internal security of the Emperor and of the Vor power structure, economic and State security (in cooperation with the MoPIL), advanced criminal intelligence (in cooperation with the S.O.C.A.) and counter-espionage. The Department also monitors visitors and immigrants who are either Galactics or from Komarr. The bulk of Domestic Affairs’s work is collecting covert information, which is then used to generate domestic threat assessments that are produced primarily for the wider Barrayaran intelligence community, government departments and ministries, and assist in counter-subversion planning and inform associated physical protection and target-hardening programs. The Department derives much of this information from human sources. A major amount of data emanates from well-placed informants and suspect individuals who confess during interviews and interrogations, but also from community-based information, most of which is obtained from regular interviews with local leaders and representatives. The latter source may be exploited without its consensus.
The Domestic Affairs department operates several Barrayaran (at least one for district) local offices. It is located in Imperial Security Headquarters in Vorbarr Sultana. Because its peculiar administrative structure, Northern Continent of Barrayar has a special territorial directorate, centralised in Vorbarr Sultana, while the Southern Continent has District ImpSec resident agencies. Obviously, covert agents may be deployed within Vor upper echelon as well anywhere else.
Departmental activities are managed by the Department's Chief, who reports directly to the Chief of Imperial Security and through him to the Emperor and the Prime Minister. The Chief oversees branch heads and operationally focused meetings, each of which occurs at least once a week; he also deals with the daily ordinary business. The Chief of Domestic Affairs decides on resource issues, and has the ultimate responsibility to assess whether a particular issue should be considered relevant. The current Chief of Domestic Affairs is Lieutenant General Ezar Vorparadjis.
Each three months, all Directorate heads are required to submit a performance review to the Chief of Department, who, in conjunction with a parallel semi-annual assessment of intelligence priorities, forms the basis of the annual report to the Emperor.
Every Directorate has an intelligence collection service, as well as an analysis centre, although they depend on both information acquisition department and Domestic Affairs Department.

  • Directorate (D-1) for Emperor's and Government Security
    • Emperor's Security and Safety Group
    • Government Leaders Protection Group
  • Directorate (D-2) for Vor Class Security: the Second Directorate is responsible for providing security to High Vors who do not belong to the government or military elite, but who are still sensitive targets. People protected by personnel of the Second Chief Directorate are "second-line" Counts, as well as other High Vors and their families. Alongside the protection provided, the Imperial Security carries also out a discrete surveillance on these sensitive people. It is to note that, due to the similar nature, services of both First and Second Directorates are prepared and dealt with using the same operational templates, although the attention is obviously different. The standard "sensitive High Vor" does the special ImpSec defence course each year and, on some occasions, has an outer perimeter guard watching everything he does. Due to the harsh nature of political fight in Barrayar and abroad, he lives with the need to be careful and alert. The providing of an outer perimeter guard depends on political and security circumstances, as well as temporary military or political assignments.
  • Directorate (D-3) for Ethnic Affairs: The Third Directorate deals with ethnic and minorities problems. The Third Chief Directorate is responsible for cooperating with other agencies (MoPIL and Ministry of Interior) in monitoring ethnic issues, suppressing separatist unrest, and preventing violent conflict or terrorism.
    • Anti Illegal Emigration Division
  • Directorate (D-4) for Military Loyalty and Military Counter-espionage: the Counter-espionage Directorate protects the Empire against foreign intelligence operations and espionage and prevents foreign intelligence from successfully gathering and collecting intelligence. It is closely linked with the Military Intelligence Service.
  • Directorate (D-5) for Terrorism and Political Subversion Control
    • Division for Crime and Narcotics: researches information on narcotics trafficking and organised crime. Since ImpSec has no domestic ordinary police authority, it sends its analytic information to the Ministry of Interior.
  • Directorate for Protection of Strategic Facilities: is a counter-espionage organisation tasked to protect Barrayaran strategic nuclear facilities from threats, including sabotage and cyber warfare.
  • Directorate (D-6) for Economic Counter-sabotage
  • Directorate (D-7) for Culture and Press Surveillance: relies on the authors' unions in order to spot and thwart dangerous dissent.
    • Sects and Cults Division: it keeps an eye on imported or foreign religious movements. These are dealt with by a mere Division because traditionally-intended religion on Barrayar is nearly non-existent.
  • Directorate (D-8) for Territorial Surveillance: it supervises and co-ordinates the field offices on Barrayar. Responsible for the collection and diffusion of general (i.e. not strictly related to other Directorates) intelligence corresponding to the internal areas. For the achievement of its mission it is subdivided in Departments assigned to specific political, economic and social issues.
    • Foreigners Surveillance Division;
    • Labour Relations Division
    • General Collection Division
  • Directorate (D-9) for Analysis: The Directorate for Analysis is by far the largest Directorate of the Domestic Affairs Department, insofar it provides analysis and elaboration for all information received from the other Directorates. It is also in charge for maintaining liaison with its counterparts of other Departments.
    • Information acquisition and validation Division
    • Information analysis Division
  • Directorate (D-10) for General Counter-intelligence
    • Anti-Defection and Counter-surveillance Division

The fact that the Imperial Security functions with a corps of spies is an open secret in most society echelons, since the nagging fear that someone is listening becomes another tool to help keep the citizenry in line. The specifics of information operations, however, are scrupulously protected from . Every operational command and layer attempts to insinuate information gatherers into every corner of its jurisdiction, through infiltration, surveillance, and the use of outside spies.

Emperor's security Directorate

The First Directorate of ImpSec is the organisation responsible for providing bodyguard services to the Emperor, the Imperial Family and the principal government leaders and families and major government facilities (including Imperial Residence). Officers of "the First" who, by nature of their duty, remained constantly in direct proximity to the political and state elite, are the repositories of such secrets that, should they decide to use them, the consequences for the regime might have been dire. The Directorate has roughly 5,0000 - 6,000 uniformed personnel (outside the Imperial Security Troops) plus several hundreds plain-clothed personnel; it controls the "black box" that can be used in the event of global nuclear war or planetary invasion. The Directorate is sometimes accused to profit from approving licenses to supply food, drink and fitments for the Imperial Residence. It has an unofficial and case-to-case role of a fact-checker against manipulation attempts from other departments. However, that role is not a priority one, neither it is often requested.

Emperor's Security and Safety Group

The most elite operatives are grouped within the "Emperor's Security and Safety Group", tasked with Emperor and Imperial Family's protection. The ESSG has around 3,000 non-uniformed personnel. All servants within the Imperial Residence are ImpSec trained guards, in order to quickly provide a reliable-and-ready response in case of serious troubles. They are a distinct department from the Imperial Guards, although they co-operate very strictly with them. The Emperor's Security and Safety Group is on the front line of the conflict between the Emperor's protection and the obedience to his orders: this conflict is resolved by the basic values of the Barrayaran concept of "service". Besides feeling a duty to keep the Emperor alive, the whole military feels a deep desire to do the Emperor's will as a matter of both honour and duty. Doing something that goes against that, even if for his own safety, would go against the basic pillars of being Barrayaran and subject to the military status. So the ESSG would never do something with or two him without his knowledge, consent, and command. However, this does not prevent Group leaders to argue and dissent about the safety degree which is deemed appropriate. The ESSG is head-quartered in the Imperial Residence.
The Prime Minister of the Empire is protected by the Government Leaders Protection Group, which operates the PM Counter-attack Unit (CAU).

Emergency security powers and procedures

The Emperor's security Directorate (including ESSG and other branches of the Directorate) is the main ImpSec subdivision tasked with protection and emergency protection duties. This peculiarity determines a peculiar procedure, in addition to all other ImpSec operational schemes.
If the objectives are in danger or when there is information that it is intended to organise actions that might jeopardise them, the Emperor's security Directorate has by law, the power to establish protection zones around those targets and, where necessary, to prohibit or restrict, as appropriate, access to such areas and zones. The protection zones are delineated areas, with visible signs of the Imperial Security, with the support of specialised public authorities, if deemed necessary; the protection zones are treated as targets whose security is ensured.
The staff of the Emperor's security Directorate is authorised to immobilise, stop and, where appropriate, to arrest people unlawfully entering prohibited or restricted access areas by giving them to competent authorities, together with the recordings. In these situations, the Emperor's security Directorate staff is required to identify themselves. If finding a flagrant delicto or judicial evidences of attempts or preparatory acts of offences punishable by law, the Emperor's security Directorate personnel can handing the perpetrator over to the competent law enforcement authorities (typically the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty), along with the recordings and evidence.
On the other hand, the Emperor's security Directorate does not exercise a purely reactive and defensive action, but also intervenes independently or in cooperation with other organs (both within ImpSec or not) in order to prevent and counter actions which could endanger the protected authorities and personalities and security guarded objectives, and to capture or annihilate terrorist or otherwise hostile elements. In practice, during a protective service and especially during an armed attack against the protected personalities, the Directorate has the overall authority to direct other ImpSec branches or other agencies.

Directorate for Military Loyalty and Military Counter-espionage

The Directorate for Military Loyalty and Military Counter-espionage (D-4) protects the Empire against foreign intelligence operations and espionage and prevents foreign intelligence from successfully gathering and collecting intelligence or conducting sabotage, as well as exposes and neutralises members of anti-state organisations in the military units or structures. In order to deal with these tasks, the Directorate establishes and runs nets of secret informers amongst soldiers and officers inside army structure and secures important military infrastructure and installations. The Directorate is closely linked with the Military Intelligence Service and it is divided into 8 Divisions:

  • Officers Security Division: the Division is responsible for monitor Imperial Service officers and plays a significant role in the promotion, demotion, appointment or transfer of military officers on security grounds.
  • Military Police Division.
  • Counter-Espionage Centres (CECs): distinct from the Field offices.
  • Intelligence liaison at the General Staff of the Imperial Service.
  • Investigations Division.
  • External Observation Division.
  • Personnel Division.
  • Counterintelligence protection of the General Staff Division.

Directorate for Terrorism and Political Subversion Control

The Directorate for Terrorism and Political Subversion Control is a subdivision of the Domestic Affairs Department of the Imperial Security. The "Terror Directorate" investigates terrorist threats inside the Empire of Barrayar and, more specifically, on Barrayar, and provides information on terrorists outside the Empire to Galactic Affairs. The Directorate’s approach to terrorism relies on informants where possible, intensive interrogations of suspects and “kinetic responses” — shooting people — when attacks happen.
The Directorate employs counter-terrorism field operations organised into squads, the number of which varies according to the amount and diversity of activity in the local field office's jurisdiction. The Terror Directorate has five Divisions:

  • Interstellar Terror Division: it has a constant link with the Galactic Affairs Department;
  • Domestic Terror Division: it is by far the largest Division within the Directorate. It is subdivided in an Office for every terror group. It is constantly linked with the Komarran Affairs Department;
  • Political Counter-espionage Division: it deals with non-military espionage attempts, and operates in order to influence foreign opinion-makers:
  • Analysis Division: provides information elaborations and reports, as well as technical support to investigations. It has six functional Offices:
    • Communications Exploitation Office
    • Terrorist Financing Operations Office - financial components of terrorism investigations
    • Counter-terrorism Analysis Office - supports Interstellar and Division
    • Terrorism Reports and Requirements Office
    • Strategic Assessment and Analysis Office
    • Production and Publications Office
  • Operational Support Division: manages the Directorate's administrative and resource functions.

Directorate for Economic Counter-sabotage

The Economic Directorate is concerned with the defence of the Barrayaran economic system from non-conventional threats. It could even, if authorised to do so, conduct operations aimed at influencing exchange rates and other indicators. It is subdivided into seven Divisions:

  • Arms Industry Division
  • Strategic transportation Industry Division
  • Counterintelligence in the credit and financial sphere Division
  • Financial Intelligence Division
  • Industrial Espionage Division
  • Industrial and Commercial Security Division
  • Computer Centre for Critical Infrastructure

Financial Intelligence Division

The Division of Financial Intelligence is a subdivision of the Imperial Security which works in strict coordination with the Ministry of Finance, as well as with the Serious Organised Crime Agency. The Division marshals the financial intelligence functions with the main aim of combating Barrayar's enemies, terrorist facilitation, weapons of mass destruction proliferation, money laundering, drug trafficking, and other national security threats, being charged with planning and execution of economic and trade intelligence and/or secret activities in support of Barrayaran security and foreign policy objectives and against foreign Nexus Powers as well as a variety of problematic organisations and individuals deemed to be a threat to Barrayaran national security.
The Division is placed within the Directorate for Economic Counter-sabotage and oversees the Office of Terrorist Financing, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. The financial intelligence activity is conducted in strict coordination with the Ministry of Finance and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in order to ensure a smooth and integrated policy activities. It is to be noted that, being an unique financial system for the whole Empire, the Division exists only under the Home Affairs Department; on both Komarr and Sergyar there are important detachments of the Division, but they are not autonomous.

Directorate for Counter-intelligence

The Directorate for Counter-intelligence is the component of Domestic Affairs which conducts counter-intelligence activities to detect, identify, assess, counter, exploit and/or neutralise enemy, foreign intelligence services, international terrorist organisations, and insider threats. This Directorate works mainly inside the country to combat foreign espionage and to study the forms and methods used by foreign intelligence services on the territory of the Imperium of Barrayar; the work it carries out abroad aims to organise operational-technical intelligence, i.e., the investigation of the forms, working methods and regulations of the intelligence, counter-intelligence, and police and administrative organs of foreign countries.
The Directorate surveys all foreigners in Barrayar, and keeps track to impede contact between sensitive foreigners and subjects. It enforces a variety of measures to prevent Barrayaran subjects living with foreign nationals, in co-operation with the Public Security Authorities, one of these being the requirement to report any foreigners booking or residing on the Barrayaran soil within 26 hours. It also collects information from trusted informers on political groups, on enemy agent activities and on armed groups of national traitors. From an operational point of view, the Directorate for Counter-intelligence is in the strictest contact with the law enforcement agencies (MoPIL, SOCA and IPF); personnel assigned to the directorate has no law enforcement authority other than those entrusted to the rest of ImpSec personnel.
The Directorate is organised into a Command Office and four Divisions: Administration, Information Technology, Operations and Training and Development.

Field offices on Barrayar

The Domestic Affairs Department operates 78 Territorial Commands in major cities throughout Barrayar. Many of these offices are further subdivided into smaller Detachments which have jurisdiction over a specific area. These Detachments are considered to be part of the primary Territorial Commands. ImpSec Headquarters controls the flow of the agents and support staff that work out of the Territorial Commands across the planet. Due to the differences between Northern and Southern Continent, the organisation is very different. The field offices are also the subdivision tasked with open investigations.
In the Southern Continent, there are eight Commands Groups, headed by Colonels, each responsible for eight Imperial Districts; in turn, in each of the 64 Districts, a Territorial Command, headed by Majors, also exists: where there is a Commands Group see, the latter exercises functions of the Territorial Command. There are also several Detachments, led by Captains, where they are needed.
Due to the hereditary matters existing in the Northern Continent, there are only 14 Territorial Commands, located in the major cities. Each Territorial Command is overseen by a Major, except those located in Vorbarr Sultana, Vorbarra District, Hassadar, Vorkosigan District, and Weienovya, Vordarian District, which due to their large size are considered being Commands Group and are managed by a Colonel, assisted by Majors responsible for specific programs.
Each Territorial Command or Command Group is subdivided into five branches: territorial Detachments (at least one), the Judicial services Unit (or Section), the official Investigative Unit (or Section), the secretive Informers Unit/Section and the Preventive Detention Unit/Section. Below these four sections, and within all of them, each Directorate has a corresponding Unit or Nucleus. If the Directorate is particularly unimportant within the Command boundary, it has only a dedicated officer. The Imperial Security also maintains Special Intervention Squads at each of its 78 Territorial Commands, consisting of 45 members each. They can also be used to aid the local authorities upon request of the relevant District Count or District Governor.
To fulfil its remit on Barrayar, the Department of Domestic Affairs of the Imperial Security also functions at the regional and local levels. Consequently, it works closely also with individual District Directorates of the Special Corps of Gendarmes. The primary function of the Special Corps Directorate is to carry out covert intelligence work in relation to national security. Therefore, the Directorate assists the relevant Field Office in carrying out its duties.
At each MoPIL Region on Barrayar, the Special Corps has established a Anti-Terrorism Information Units (ATIU), which works closely with the Imperial Security Commands Groups. The Special Corps of Gendarmes gathers intelligence relevant to both the Imperial Security and its own Ministry at two levels: in Districts and at the regional level. It is thus in this area that the Imperial Security, through its Commands Group, interacts with the District Directorates of the Special Corps of Gendarmes to conduct intelligence-gathering and intelligence development operations.
In the Northern Continent, cooperation is carried out with the proper District forces.

Komarran Affairs

The Department is responsible for tracking treason plots and anti-government activity on Komarr, and in general for guarding the Barrayaran Imperium from Komarran threats. The Department is responsible for both the traditional secret service duties and for overt political police with minor tasks of public security and judicial police, being the counterpart on Komarran soil of the Special Corps of Gendarmes and of MoPIL; it also runs the local Imperial Security Headquarters on Komarr, although the Head of Komarran Affairs and numerous Komarran Affairs analysts work at Imperial Security Headquarters in Vorbarr Sultana on Barrayar. The Head of Komarran Affairs and his subordinate, the Chief of Imperial Security - Komarr are both general staff officers. The current Chief of Komarran Affairs is Vice Admiral Konstantine Keseji. The K.A.D is run out of Imperial Security Headquarters.
Every Directorate has an intelligence collection service, as well as an analysis centre, although they depend on both information acquisition department and Komarran Affairs Department.

  • Directorate (K-1) for Terrorism and Political Extremism Control - closely linked with its counterpart within the Domestic Affairs Department; it is traditionally the main and foremost subunit of ImpSec Komarr, although in recent decades its importance has been downgraded significantly.
    • Labour Relations Division
    • Subversive Culture Division
  • Directorate (K-2) for Economic Counter-sabotage (DEX): is concerned with the defence of the Komarran-Barrayaran economic system from non-conventional threats. It is subdivided into five Divisions:
    • Arms Industry Division
    • Detachment Section of Financial Intelligence
    • Industrial Espionage Division
    • Industrial and Commercial Security Division
    • Computer Centre for Critical Infrastructure
  • Counter Intelligence Directorate (K-3)
  • Directorate (K-3) of Information Analysis
  • ImpSec Komarr: is the ImpSec detachment in charge of all activities run out on Komarr, with the exception of Galactic Affairs and Communications. ImpSec Komarr directs all its sub-detachments.
    • ImpSec Komarr Headquarters: tasked to run the ImpSec HQ in Solstice, Komarr. The same building hosts security cell blocks, ImpSec Komarr and the Galactic Actions Directorate of the Galactic Affairs Department.
      • ImpSec Komarr Troop Detachment
      • ImpSec Domed Cities Division: carries out function of public security/judicial overt political police, as well as the ordinary speripheral ecret police/state security/counter-espionage duties.
      • ImpSec Komarr Imperial Representatives Security Details: Security Details are the the ImpSec guard squads assigned to surveillance and protection of local Imperial Representatives.

Chief of Imperial Security - Komarr

The Chief of Imperial Security - Komarr is the deputy head of the Komarran Affairs Department, and the highest ranking ImpSec officer of the Department permanently residing on Komarr. In the latter capacity, he is responsible for coordinating all of the security concerns of Komarr. His mission therefore includes working to establish a professional relationship with not only the Imperial Representative, but also a working relationship with the officers of Imperial Service detachments to ensure efficient and trustworthy communications. When a security concern arises within the Komarran system, he liaison is most often the first person to know, and is trained to immediately set into motion certain procedures to contain the situation before irreparable harm is caused to the Empire.

ImpSec Domed Cities Division

On Komarr, ImpSec relies on a dome-based field organisation both for overt political police and for secret police duties: this network is organised under a separate entity, in order to assign political police prerogatives to the territorial organs. The basic units are the Dome Detachments: they consist of a force corresponding to the individual Dome importance and are usually commanded by Ground Captain/Lieutenant Commander. Detachments perform overt political police functions and civil service control, working alongside the local security for affairs that are not "classified". First information collection and validation activity is performed by single Dome Detachments.
Major Domes are garrisoned by a Territorial Command, headed by a Major or even, for Solstice, by a Commands Group, headed by a Colonel. Each Sector organisation consists of a Commands Group, in charge or carrying out administrative and paper work; the Solstice Sector Commands Group is not responsible for Solstice City but only for the rest of the Solstice Sector, which includes several domed cities.

Directorate for Komarran Counter-intelligence

The Directorate for Komarran Counter-intelligence is the component of Komarran Affairs which conducts counter-intelligence activities to detect, identify, assess, counter, exploit and/or neutralise adversarial, foreign intelligence services, international terrorist organisations, and insider threats. This Directorate works mainly inside the country to combat foreign espionage and to study the forms and methods used by foreign intelligence services within the System of Komarr; the work it carries out abroad aims to organise operational-technical intelligence, i.e., the investigation of the forms, working methods and regulations of the intelligence, counter-intelligence, and police and administrative organs of foreign countries.
The Directorate surveys all foreigners on Komarr, and keeps track to impede contact between sensitive foreigners and untrustworthy subjects. It enforces a variety of measures to prevent Barrayaran subjects (both Komarran and others) living with foreign nationals, in co-operation with the Public Security Authorities, one of these being the requirement to report any foreigners booking or residing on the Komarran soil within 19 hours. It also collects information from trusted informers on political groups, on enemy agent activities and on armed groups of national traitors. From an operational point of view, the Directorate for Counter-intelligence is in the strictest contact with the law enforcement agencies (ImpSec Domed Cities Division, SOCA and Komarran Security Forces); personnel assigned to the directorate has no law enforcement authority other than those entrusted to the rest of ImpSec personnel.

Sergyaran Affairs

The "Colonial Office", as it is informally known, is the newest of the major departments and was created at the specific request of then-Viceroy Count Aral Vorkosigan. The Sergyaran Affairs Department is run out of Imperial Security Headquarters and concerned with the security of the planet Sergyar. The Department is responsible for tracking anti-government activity on Sergyar, and in general for guarding the Barrayaran Imperium from Sergyaran threats. It runs the local Imperial Security Headquarters on Sergyar, although the Head of Sergyaran Affairs works at Imperial Security Headquarters in Vorbarr Sultana on Barrayar. The Head of Sergyaran is a general staff officer, although lower in rank than the Chiefs of Internal, Komarran or Galactic Affairs, as the Chief of Imperial Security - Sergyar is. The current Chief of Sergyaran Affairs is Major General David Cameron.
Every Department has an intelligence collection service, as well as an analysis centre, although they depend on both information acquisition department and Sergyaran Affairs Department. Major challenges to the department could be gathered in two main groups: on the one hand, Sergyar is the destination of a better part of immigrants in Barrayaran Imperium and therefore there are more political stability problems here than in other parts; on the other hand, Sergyaran Nexus proximity planets like Escobar and Beta Colony - Escobar is nearer to Sergyar than Komarr - requires a greater effort against spread of democratic ideals: the Imperium wants colons and fresh energies, not troubles. Therefore the Sergyaran Affairs Department has its own internal structure:

  • Colons Directorate: it deals with liaison with both Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty and Sergyar Immigration Service in order to crack down any imported-subversive plot. It is also the subdivision tasked with open investigations.;
    • Division for Territorial Surveillance
  • Directorate Economic Counter-sabotage (DEX): is concerned with the defence of the Sergyaran-Barrayaran economic system from non-conventional threats. It could even, if authorised to do so, conduct operations aimed at influencing the exchange rate. It is subdivided into five Divisions:
    • Arms Industry Division
    • Industrial Espionage Division
    • Industrial and Commercial Security Division
    • Computer Centre for Critical Infrastructure
    • Detachment Section of Financial Intelligence
  • Directorate for Political Subversion Control
  • Viceroy's Safety and Security Office
  • Information Analysis Centre
  • Directorate for Sergyaran Counter-intelligence

Chief of Imperial Security - Sergyar

The Chief of Imperial Security - Sergyar is the deputy head of the Sergyaran Affairs Department, and the highest ranking ImpSec officer of the Department permanently residing on Komarr. In the latter capacity, he is responsible for coordinating all of the security concerns of Sergyar. His mission therefore includes working to establish a professional relationship with not only the Imperial Viceroy, but also a working relationship with the officers of Imperial Service detachments to ensure efficient and trustworthy communications. When a security concern arises within the Sergyaran system, he liaison is most often the first person to know, and is trained to immediately set into motion certain procedures to contain the situation before irreparable harm is caused to the Empire.

Directorate for Sergyaran Counter-intelligence

The Directorate for Sergyaran Counter-intelligence is the component of Sergyaran Affairs which conducts counter-intelligence activities to detect, identify, assess, counter, exploit and/or neutralise adversarial, foreign intelligence services, interstellar terrorist organisations, and insider threats. This Directorate works mainly inside the country to combat foreign espionage and to study the forms and methods used by foreign intelligence services within the System of Sergyar; the work it carries out abroad aims to organise operational-technical intelligence, i.e., the investigation of the forms, working methods and regulations of the intelligence, counter-intelligence, and police and administrative organs of foreign countries.
The Directorate surveys all foreigners on Barrayar, and keeps track to impede contact between sensitive foreigners and subjects. It enforces a variety of measures to prevent Barrayaran subjects living with foreign nationals, in co-operation with the Public Security Authorities, one of these being the requirement to report any foreigners booking or residing on the Sergyaran soil within 24 hours. It also collects information from trusted informers on political groups, on enemy agent activities and on armed groups of national traitors. From an operational point of view, the Directorate for Counter-intelligence is in the strictest contact with the law enforcement agencies (MoPIL, SOCA and Sergyar Constabulary); personnel assigned to the directorate has no law enforcement authority other than those entrusted to the rest of ImpSec personnel.

Galactic Affairs

The Galactic Affairs Department provides the Barrayaran Imperium in interstellar espionage, by conducting intelligence, implementing active measures to ensure Imperial security, conducting strategic, economic, scientific and technological espionage, protecting Barrayaran employees of Barrayaran institutions abroad and their families, conducting joint operations with foreign security services. Additional and complementary tasks of the Galactic Affairs Department include control of the entrance of immigrants, information assistance in expulsion and deportation undesirable immigrants and assistance to counter-espionage.
With even more discretion, the Galactic Affairs Department conducts covert paramilitary operations, destabilisation missions, training of rebel troops, key target abductions, interrogation sessions, and other deniable operations.
The current Chief of Galactic Affairs is Vice Admiral Ivan Zamori. The Department is head-quartered on Komarr, in Solstice. Every Department has an intelligence collection service, as well as an analysis centre, although they depend on both information acquisition department and Galactic Affairs Department.
Some Galactic Affairs operatives work within mercenary groups across the Nexus.

  • The Galactic Actions Directorate is the organisation responsible for foreign intelligence collection activities by the training and management of the covert agents, intelligence collection management, and the collection of political, scientific and technical intelligence.c It works in cooperation with the Military Intelligence Service. The Galactic Actions Directorate is placed in Solstice, Komarr, and is hosted by ImpSec Komarr HQs. The Galactic Actions Directorate includes the following Divisions:
    • Political Intelligence Division: Includes seventeen Offices, each responsible for different countries of the Nexus, as well as for interplanetary affairs. Each geographic subdivision is headed by an analyst ranking Captain (naval)/Colonel or Commodore/Brigadier General, according to the importance of the department held. The Division produces all-source intelligence investigation on key Nexus-related issues.
    • Illegal Intelligence Division: Includes thirteen Offices responsible for preparing and planting "illegal agents" abroad, conducting terror operations and sabotage in foreign countries, "biological espionage", recruitment of foreign citizens on the Barrayaran territory and other duties. The Division, overseen by its Head of Department, is also the broad coordinator of foreign human intelligence activities among the other two elements of the Barrayaran intelligence network with their own HUMINT operations.
      • Special Tasks Office: it is part of the Illegal Intelligence Division. STO operators work in independent cells, performing dangerous missions such as counterterrorism, infiltration, reconnaissance, assassination, and sabotage. They are used to monitor "developing situations" and to quietly "handle" troublesome individuals. STO operators are known to be brutally practical, devoted to accomplishing their mission regardless of the cost involved to others or themselves. They are currently very active in the Nexus beyond the Cetagandan Empire.
    • Scientific and Technical Intelligence Division
    • External Counter-Intelligence Division: This Division carries out infiltration of foreign intelligence and security services and exercises surveillance over Barrayaran citizens abroad.
    • Operational and Technical Support
    • Economic Intelligence Division
    • Influence Activity Division
    • Security Intelligence Division
  • Information Analysis Directorate
    • External Counter-Espionage Division
    • Interstellar Issues Division: applies functional expertise to assess existing and emerging threats to Empire security and provides the Emperor, the Government, the High Command and the Council of Counts with analysis, warning, and crisis support.
    • Galactic Terrorism Analysis Division
      • Strategic Assessments Office
    • NBCR Weapons Counter-Proliferation Division
  • Situation Centre
  • Directorate for Cooperation Against Terrorism and International Organised Crime
  • Internal Resources Directorate: the Directorate is the domestic part of the Department, its main function being to conduct voluntary debriefings of Barrayaran subjects who travel abroad for work or to visit relatives, and to recruit foreign students, diplomats and businesspeople to become ImpSec assets when they return to their homeworld. The Directorate consists of two Divisions:
    • Foreign Resources Division: it is given the responsibility for clandestine operational activities conducted within the Empire against foreign targets. Its "public relations" function is to locate foreign nationals of special interest who resided or still reside in the Barrayaran Empire and recruit them to serve as ImpSec assets when they return home or to some other foreign location.
    • National Resources Collection Division: it collects intelligence from subjects of the Empire who had travelled abroad, particularly scientists, technologists, economists, and energy experts returning from foreign locations.
  • Imperial Couriers Directorate

Head of the Department

The Chief of Galactic Affairs Department is a Vice-Admiral/Lieutenant General: he reports directly to the Chief of Imperial Security; in practice, he deals with the Chief of the Imperial Security, the Chief of General Staff and occasionally with the Emperor. The Head of Department and his staff office also facilitate the support of the other branches of the Imperial Service, by providing it with information it gathers, receiving information from the Military Intelligence Service, and cooperating on field activities. The Director for Military Support, a senior military officer coming from the combat arms, manages the relationship between ImpSec and the Regional Commands.

External Counter-Intelligence Division

The External Counter-Intelligence Division, within the Galactic Actions Directorate, is responsible for countering efforts by foreign intelligence services to recruit personnel of the Imperial Security and among cadres of Barrayaran institutions abroad. It also counters surveillance, wire-tapping and infiltration by foreign intelligence services against Barrayaran embassies and consulates.
The External Counter-Intelligence Division includes an Abroad Emigration Office which specialises in "anti-defection" work among Barrayaran subjects (particularly students) abroad, which includes both preventing their recruitment by foreign intelligence services as well as their participation in pro-democracy organisations.

Information Analysis Directorate

The Information Analysis Directorate is the analytical branch of the Galactic Affairs Department, responsible for the production and dissemination of all-source intelligence secondary analysis on key foreign issues. Its current structure has four broad regional analytic Divisions, six Divisions for transnational issues, and two support units. In particular, the Division of Transnational Issues applies unique functional expertise to assess existing and emerging threats to Barrayaran security and provides the Emperor and the Prime Minister with analysis, warning, and crisis support.

Diplomatic Residency

In the Barrayaran Imperial Embassies abroad, the Resident is an ImpSec agent who operates in a foreign country under diplomatic cover. He is an official member of the diplomatic staff, such as a commercial, cultural or military attaché. Thus he has diplomatic immunity from prosecution and cannot be arrested by the host country if suspected of espionage. The most the host country can do is send him back to Barrayar by declaring him "Persona Non Grata". The Resident is in charge of the Residency and the personnel; he is also an unofficial contact who well-known people in government for contact that is use in times of crisis. Each Residency is divided into Sections, each Section being responsible for its assigned task of gathering intelligence, and one of the sections is responsible for counter-intelligence. Each Residency, no matter its size, is divided in two parts under the Resident:

  • Operational staff
    • Intelligence Section - collects information about political, economic, and military strategic intelligence, and is also the basis for active measures actions;
    • Counter-intelligence Section - Counter-intelligence and Security
  • Special Reservists

Counter-intelligence section plays a big role in the Residency, being responsible for counter-intelligence and security of residency consulate and the embassy that housed the residency. Residencies (and through Residencies the whole Embassy) often tries to keep track of several hundred people on each planet, as well as to keep track on what the foreign embassies are doing.

Signals and Communications Security

The Signals and Communications Security Department of the Imperial Security is the cryptologic intelligence branch of ImpSec, responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting Barrayaran government communications and information systems,which involves information security and cryptanalysis/cryptography. SCS' mission is to collect information that constitutes foreign intelligence or counter-intelligence and acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of Barrayaran persons. In 2998 the SCS became the main agency to monitor and protect all of the Imperial Government's networks from cyber-terrorism, working alongside the Imperial Service Defence Cyber Command (DEFCYCOM).
SCS' tasks include surveillance over radio broadcasting, both from various organisations and individuals, the net webs, planetary calls, and other forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications. Because of its listening task, the SCS is heavily involved in cryptanalytic researches. For organisational purposes, operational facilities are divided into the three its own planetary divisions (SCS Barrayar, SCS Komarr and SCS Sergyar), but they operate independently from Domestic, Galactic, Komarran and Sergyar affairs, although procedures of direct co-operation obviously exist. SCS' eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organisations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and all other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.


The SCS has a dozen Directorates. The directorates are divided in Divisions and Offices. The main elements of the organisational structure of the SCS are:

  • Information Assurance Directorate, which ensures the availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation of national security and telecommunications and information systems.
  • Communications Security Directorate
  • Counter-intelligence Directorate
    • Cryptography Division
    • Decipherments Division
  • ImpSec Signal troops
  • Intelligence Directorate, which is responsible for the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of signals intelligence. The ID is the most important branch of the SCS. The Directorate consists of the following Divisions:
    • Customer Relations Division;
    • Analysis Division, which groups 17 geographical Analysis Offices, modelled on those within the Galactic Affairs Directorate, as well as five thematic Offices (Interplanetary security, Interplanetary crime, Counter-terrorism, Weapons, Current threats) and the Advanced Analysis Office;
    • Cryptanalysis and Exploitation Division, which is the parent branch of the Spy Spaceship Office;
    • Hacking Division, which hacks into foreign computers to conduct cyber-espionage. This Division is the hearth of the largest and arguably the most important component of the Intelligence Directorate, consisting of elite technical personnel;
    • Special Collection Division, which is a joint program created by Galactic Affairs and SCS to facilitate clandestine activities such as bugging computers throughout the Nexus, using the expertise of both branches.
  • Internal Defence Directorate, which is responsible for domestic (of all three planets) collection programs.
    • Internal Reconnaissance Division;
    • Internal Satellite Intelligence Division: the Internal Satellite Intelligence Division is an internal intelligence branch of the SCS Department, with the primary mission of collecting, analysing, and distributing geospatial intelligence in support of internal security. The Division also provides assistance during natural and man-made disasters, and security planning for major events.
    • Internal Datasphere Intelligence Division: it is tasked with the internal surveillance of the data-sphere and of communications and it is closely linked with Sergyaran, Komarran and Domestic Departments, acting as a general information basin available to all internal "geographic" branches. There is a Detachment on each planet;
  • R&D Directorate
  • Directorate of Government Communications
  • Directorate of information technology
  • Academy of Cryptography
  • Military School of communications in Bosanklar
  • Admiral Uzinov Scientific Research Electromechanics Institute, manufacturer of software and hardware used by the SCS
  • Cryptologic Intelligence Office

Internal Reconnaissance Division

The Internal Reconnaissance Division is one of the SCS branches devoted to internal security. It designs, builds, and operates the reconnaissance satellites and provides satellite and space intelligence to several government departments, particularly signals imagery and measurement and signature intelligence to the "internal" departments of ImpSec, to the Military Intelligence Service, to the S.O.C.A. and the law enforcement agencies, and, on certain conditions, to the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty. The Chief of the Internal Reconnaissance Division the Chief of Security of Communications Department.
The Internal Reconnaissance Division develops and operates space reconnaissance systems and conducts intelligence-related activities for Barrayaran internal security. It also coordinates collection and analysis of information from aerial vehicle and satellite reconnaissance. The Division works closely with its internal intelligence and space partners, which include the Internal Satellite Intelligence Division.
The Internal Reconnaissance Division is part of the Security of Communications Department. The Division is led by a Divisional Chief and, being integrated with the SCS Department, is structured into seven Offices.

  • Assistance Office: encompasses all those support functions such as security/counter-intelligence, procurement, etc. necessary for the day-to-day operation of the Internal Reconnaissance Division and in liaison with the Space Forces Command.
  • Office of Space Launch: responsible for all aspects of a satellite launch including launch vehicle hardware, launch services integration, mission assurance, operations, transportation, and mission safety;
  • Imagery Intelligence Systems Acquisition Office;
  • Mission Operations Office
  • Mission Support Office
  • Signals Intelligence Systems Acquisition Office;
  • Systems Engineering Office.

Other departments

Other departments in Imperial Security include:

  • Finance
  • Forensics
  • ImpSec Medical Service
  • Food Service
  • Housekeeping and Physical Plants
  • Technical Assistance and Support
    • Alarms and Protections Office: the Office is tasked to collect schematics of all authorised alarms and domestic defence systems. All producers must submit a schematic of their products.
  • Imperial Security Headquarters Buildings Command
  • Imperial Security Training: the Department is in charge of training of all ImpSec specialists and it is organised into several sub-departments. It also oversees the Division-specific training establishments. It is subdivided into three Divisions: Administration, Courses and Logistics. In turn, the Courses Division offers several training programmes to ImpSec students (security information course, document and file security course, investigation and interrogation course, counter-terrorism course, security studies course, protection course, security installations course and monitoring and tracking course and others). Training Department also deals with foreign intelligence officers from allied countries who participate to training programmes.

As well as having a presence in all Barrayaran embassies, Imperial Security runs several ImpSec Headquarters, which are commanded by general or flag officers, usually Commodores, corresponding to the Imperial Sectors.

ImpSec Troops

The Imperial Security Troops insignia.

The ImpSec Security Troops are the uniformed security troops of the Imperial Security which engage in military-related activities that are ImpSec's competence. ImpSec controls units that guard the highest officials and, if necessary, their private buildings. Another ImpSec armed force guards sensitive military, scientific, and industrial installations on Barrayar. They also guard government installations (nuclear weapons, etc.), operate the Vorbarr Sultana VIP subway, and secure high ranking leaders communication system. The ImpSec Troops provide ImpSec with a coercive potential: one of their main tasks is to guard the top leadership, as well as key government buildings and officials.
The Imperial Security Troops also include the dedicated General Command, several units of signal troops, which are responsible for installation, maintenance, and operation of strategic communications facilities for leading government bodies, and space forces, although ImpSec deploys only small spacecrafts and fast couriers.
Administrative departments of the Central Command perform other functions in connection with the ImpSec Troops and the ImpSec Troops General Command - ImpSec Troops Division is contained within the ImpSec Personnel Directorate: it handles tasks of military leadership, training and organisation of the field units, supply of the troops with arms, equipment and ammunition, procurement of combat vehicles, personnel and disciplinary affairs, in conjunction with the Operational Logistics and Support, while the Legal Office controls the administration of courts-martial and discipline also for the Troops. Imperial Security Troops' unit and operational uniforms are distinctively black, and their vehicles feature a black paint.


Armoured personnel carrier of the 48th Combat Group, 19th IST Regiment.

The ImpSec Troops units which are not Signal Troops are organised into standardised Combat Groups (Battalion-sized units consisting of multi-corps units) of approximately a thousands soldiers, and then into Regiments, of 5 Combat Groups each. Their operational doctrine favours tactical diversity and the application of overwhelming force with few specialised Battalions; special Companies/Squadrons/Batteries which maintain large stocks of non-standard equipment and munitions are spread evenly throughout the various Combat Groups. Apart for some exceptions, every ImpSec Troops Combat Group should be individually capable of meeting a combat action, featuring a proportionate mix of tactical and assault units, armour and artillery as well as gunship and transports.
This doctrine of structured adaptability favours the autonomy and the independence of Combat Groups; there are 25 IST Regiments, for a grand total of 125 Combat Groups. A Combat Group is formed by augmenting a regular infantry Battalion with smaller tank, artillery, combat engineer, mechanised, cavalry, reconnaissance, Signal Corps, quartermaster, military police, medical, and other support units to enable it to be a self-supporting organisation in the combat field.

ImpSec Special forces

The ImpSec special forces (ISSF) are not a single structure, although they are grouped in a single administrative Regiment, there is a single training centre (dependent on and operated by the Regiment) and they operate in a similar way: each branch is formed within the various directorates as needed. Their deployment must be authorised by the head of the major department responsible for the area of operations.

  • Special Group Alfa (Domestic Affairs Department, First Directorate): The Alpha Group is an elite dedicated counter-terrorism unit that belongs to the special-purpose forces of ImpSec. The main objective of this special unit is the power operations to prevent acts of terrorism, hostage rescue, etc. In addition, the men of Alpha are attracted to other operations of the ImpSec special and high complexity. Alpha Group's primary function is believed to be to carry out urban counter-terrorist missions under the direct sanction and control of the political leadership.
  • Special Group Beta (Galactic Affairs Department, Galactic Actions Directorate): A dedicated special unit specialised in deep penetration, sabotage, universal direct and covert action, protection of Barrayaran most sensitive embassies and espionage cell activation in case of war. Most of the operatives master two or three foreign languages, for they are intended to act in foreign countries, deep behind enemy lines. Its duties are quite different from those of the Special Group Sigma. Special Group Beta are basically answerable to only the highest echelons of the Imperial Security and receiving little or no support from other branches. Extremely capable, they rarely need such assistance. Such units engage in deep-cover missions, tapping into existing supply caches when necessary; just as often, they establish their own network of supply caches, often as a prelude to establishing new cells or bases in a new sector. For the most part, ImpSec (and by extension Barrayar) allow these teams to wreak havoc without supervision, and in completely deniable relationship.
  • Special Group Sigma (Galactic Affairs Department, Galactic Actions Directorate): assigned to execute very special operations abroad primarily for protection of embassy personnel, high-sensitive internal investigations and ultra-secret direct actions. The group is deep undercover and consists of approximately 500 highly experienced operatives speaking several languages and having extensive record of operations while serving in other secret units of the military. The group receives signals, electronic warfare and logistics support from appropriate ImpSec units. The Group often operates in plain clothes and with the full range of support, such as false identities, at its disposal.

ImpSec Embassy Guard

The ImpSec Embassy Guard (ISEG) is an ImpSec Troops Command Regiment, whose detachments provide security at Barrayaran Embassies and Consulates, and other official offices abroad. The primary mission of the ISEG is to provide security, particularly the protection of classified information and equipment vital to the national security of the Barrayaran Imperium at Barrayaran diplomatic posts. This is accomplished under the guidance and operational control of the local military attaché. In addition, ISEG provides security for visiting Barrayaran dignitaries and frequently assist the military attaché in supervising host country and/or locally employed security forces which provide additional security for the exterior of embassies. The ISEG troops fall under operational control of the military attaché and are administratively controlled by the Imperial Security Embassy Guard. The secondary mission of ISEG troops is to provide protection for Barrayaran citizens and Government properties located within designated premises during exigent circumstances, which require immediate aid or action.
The ISEG focuses on the interior security of a diplomatic post's buildings. In only the most extreme emergency situations are they authorised duties exterior to the buildings or to provide special protection to the senior diplomatic officer off of the diplomatic compound. ISEG Troops carry a certain level of diplomatic immunity in the performance of their official duties.

Imperial Guards

The Imperial Guard Regiment is a unique military regiment, a part of Imperial Security with the status of a special unit. The Imperial Guard Regiment exists in order to provide physical security to the Emperor and to members of the Imperial family, to provide "area" security for Imperial residences, and to provide the in-house security functions.
The Imperial Guard Regiment actually consists of two battalions: one honour services Squadron Group (4 Squadrons and the Band) and the Training Battalion. The Training Battalion's functions are to provide for the Imperial Guard Regiment's own training requirements, and also to provide elite "op forces" for the rest of the Imperial Service training commands. Membership in the Imperial Guard Regiment is available only to ImpSec troops who have thoroughly proved themselves before recruitment. The Imperial Guard Regiment contains its own atmospheric component. Most of its personnel are normally configured as light infantry, but each battalion has its own integral heavy weapons company, and powered armour is available to it.
The regiment is directly under the command of the Emperor and ensures the security of the Imperial Residence and its treasures and guards the Emperor and the highest state officials. The regiment is housed in the historic Imperial Barracks and it is operationally framed within the First Chief Directorate of the Domestic Affairs Department, strictly linked with the Emperor's Security and Safety Group. The following units are component units of the Imperial Guards:

  • Band of the Imperial Guard Regiment
  • Training Battalion
  • Honour Services Squadron Group

Imperial Guards have to be at least 190 cm tall, able to hear a whisper at 600 cm and never been treated for a sexually-transmitted disease. The Honour Services Squadron Group consists of four Cuirassiers Squadrons, each formed up by Imperial Guardsmen coming from the same language area and with different uniforms: Eskadril'i Kirasiry, Escadron des Cuirassiers, Cuirassiers Squadron and Moíra Tho̱rakofóro̱n.

Emperor's Own Space Squadron

Apart of the Imperial Guard Regiment there is the Emperor's Own Space Squadron, consisting of the state vessels personally used by the Emperor. The Squadron does not belong neither to the Space Forces Command, neither to the operational ImpSec's space vessels.

  • "HMS-IS Gregorian" Vorbarr Sultana-class battlecruiser
  • "HMS-IS Kareen" Dendarii-class cruiser
  • "HMS-IS Kestrel II" Dendarii-class cruiser
  • "Auxiliary Vessels Group" (two fast couriers and one support gunship)

Defence Troops

The ImpSec Defence Troops Regiment and the Command Watch Company are the units tasked with the protection of the three headquarters buildings of the Imperial Security and of the highest officials, while other types of ImpSec Troops protect secondary posts or have a more active role. The Command Watch Company has an original strength of 120 men. The ImpSec Defence Troops are a standing armed unit exclusively at Emperor's disposal, which may be delegated, by law, only to the Chief of the Imperial Security for fixed periods of time or for specific emergencies. As such, members are to selected according to the philosophical and political absolute reliability standards.

ImpSec Counter-terrorism Troops

The ImpSec Counter-terrorism Troops Command (CoTer Troops) is the main of the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency branch of the Imperial Service. It consists of both counter-terrorist and tactical police units. It depends on the Imperial Security Troops Command.
The CoTer Troops Command is primarily charged of carrying out special purposes missions, execution of protective combat missions both in peace and in war, especially for overcoming and destroying resistance and rebellious groups. In other words, they are in charge for making secret war without involving the regular military. Most of the Barrayarans who know about the unit's existence and true role, call them the “Dirty Band”, accusing it of engaging in collective punishment, aimed at intimidating seditious civilians and rebels. The CoTer Troops is quite extraneous to the rest of the Imperial Service: when unleashed, the unit deployment could provoke devastating results. When involved in terror campaigns, their movement is marked by screaming, gunshots, and the burning of homesteads: this is a unit with a mandate to terrorise and murder civilians.
Although the main task is to crack down guerrilla and rebellions, they can be used to augment Special Intervention Squads when performing politically motivated arrests.
The Command, headed by a Brigadier General, has an its own Staff, a Manoeuvre Unit and a Logistics Unit, as well as five operational Battalions. All its units are trained in accordance with the most stringent modern standards. Their members are equipped with all required weapons as well as with other necessary accessories of both Barrayaran and international origin.

Imperial couriers

One of the most routine yet vital public roles of Imperial Security is that of their Imperial couriers, who shuttle sensitive documents between embassies. Imperial Couriers are the Barrayaran diplomatic couriers: they are the officials who transport diplomatic bags and documents. Couriers are granted diplomatic immunity and are thereby protected by the receiving state from arrest and detention when performing their work. Imperial couriers generally travel in plain clothes in business class on scheduled spacelines, carrying an official case from which they must not be separated - it may even be chained to their wrist. Couriers are also a convenient cover for more deep cover operatives. Beyond their diplomatic mission, they carry on message sending also between different ImpSec posts. Couriers - both Imperial Couriers and regular forces ones - get issued a secure valise, which they have the duty to do never let left away. The Imperial Couriers' vulnerability makes necessary a frequent review of all the couriers, their records and routes.
All the Imperial Service and Imperial Security couriers report to off-world Sector Headquarters, and from there up to a Commodore for Communications station-keeping on Komarr.

Operatives and techniques

Imperial Security employs many operatives who work undercover in the field. Some are military specialists, whilst others are civilian hires who are recruited for their specialities and access. Local non-military operatives are graded from IS-1 to IS-9, IS-9 representing the highest level of security.

Internal security powers

In order to carry out its missions, the Imperial Security has several powers, both overt and covert. At the base of the vast powers, legal and illegal, attributed to the Imperial Security there is the idea that sees the protection of the supreme good of the Empire being sometimes incompatible with the legal protections of the rule of law. When the supreme interest of the Empire is at stake, for the Empire everything is permitted. Because of specific requirements preventively defined, there may be some real suspension of the right and some behaviours, in itself criminal, may be considered appropriate within particular contexts, due to the defence of the Fatherland.
The Imperial Security can perform arrests ordered by a court, as well as making arrests official on its own behalf. It can also perform searches, seizures, detentions, interrogations and arrests measures. If the Imperial Security makes an arrest or a search on behalf of a Court - very rare but possible eventuality - ordinary police procedures are followed; conversely, no constraint is placed on security procedures. Often, during security investigations, if an arrest takes place, it involves also relatives of the suspect or of the fugitive.
In addition to the official acts, which provide not guarantees or individual, Imperial Security may adopt any measure that is deemed appropriate to ensure the fulfilment of the missions. If deemed necessary, Imperial Security could engage in targeted killing, and hunt down and kill enemies of the Empire abroad.
Imperial Security has the power to arrest or secretly abduct a person and imprison him or her. The person is placed outside the law but Imperial orders: the person imprisoned is extra-legally detained and, if deemed necessary, tortured during interrogation. The possible murder is surreptitious, with the corpse disposed of to escape discovery, so that the person apparently vanishes. The terror situation which is created, also helps to intimidate local populations, in case of active resistance.
In order to ensure an efficient prevention web, Imperial Security officers have the power to issue official warnings to citizens on actions that could lead to committing crimes and arrest people for 15 days if they fail to comply with legitimate orders given by the officers after an official warning.

Internal security investigative methods

Imperial Security officers have a variety of investigating methods, mainly employed when dealing with matters and people affecting Imperial space. The most open investigation is the "audit": such an investigation is conducted openly, so that the target and everyone around him know the investigation is being conducted. This method is employed on occasion of official requests made by ruling Counts, or during a military investigation entrusted to Imperial Security by a military court. This form of investigation is practised almost only within the Imperial borders, and however in at least apparently peaceful contexts, because it requires an official acknowledgement of agents' authority: therefore this method is somewhat residual.
The most common operational ways is conducting an investigation by asking the target's help in rooting out other traitors in the hopes they would give away incriminating evidence in their eagerness to point the finger at others, as well as grabbing someone whom ImpSec has no evidence of foul play of, and then observing the behaviour of the suspect associates to see if any of these react in suspicious ways.
Openly harassing a suspect in the hopes he would do something criminal is a technique which may be used abroad as well within the Empire: in the former case it is used when ImpSec cooperates with another intelligence or law enforcement agency, while the latter case is useful when the target enjoys of a good popularity within its environment.
The practice of allowing a suspect with only minor wrongdoing to proceed unhindered so agents would catch the suspect and any associates in a larger crime, and the covert staging events so a "cultivated" suspect would have a greater opportunity to commit a larger crime is employed among counter-espionage duties. Setting a suspect up in a no-win situation in which he must commit a crime is a similar method. The Imperial Security agent would then promise to forgive the crime if the suspect does a few favours; favours which cause the suspect to commit some other crime. This ensures that the subject would be permanently indebted to the Imperial Security.
A favoured method of ImpSec when dealing with minor dissidents is creating suspicion that bona fide organisational members, usually in key positions, are ImpSec/police informers, of guilty of infamous offences such as skimming organisation funds or other ones. This technique is effective in isolating key individuals, forcing them out of the organisation.


The Imperial Security usually conducts most of its interrogations without excessive physical pressures: the favoured ordinary interrogation method is by far the fast-penta, which does not harm physically the interrogated person. However, not always this method is available, because the subject could be vaccinated against the fast-penta interrogation, or even subject to an allergic reaction.
On the other hand, Special Interrogations conducted by the Imperial Security are notorious for being ruthlessly violent and harsh. Among the practices authorised are keeping prisoners in excruciatingly uncomfortable postures, covering their heads with filthy and malodorous sacks and depriving them of sleep: torture techniques are far from being unheard of, and ImpSec routinely goes beyond the "moderate physical pressure" formally authorised. Torture practised include forceful and repeated shaking of the suspect's upper torso, in a manner which causes the neck and head to swing rapidly, manacling of the suspect in a painful position for a long period of time, consecutive, periodical crouches on the tips of one's toes, and other methods. Alongside physical torture, ImpSec also employs psychological methods.

Infiltration and informers

The Imperial Security has formal categorisations of each type of informant, and has official guidelines on how to extract information from, and control, those who they came into contact with. The roles of informants ranged from those already in some way involved in state security (such as the police and the Imperial Service) to those in the dissident movements (such as in the arts and the human rights organisations). Information gathered about the latter groups was frequently used to divide or discredit members. Informants are made to feel important, given material or social incentives, and were imbued with a sense of adventure, and only few are coerced into cooperating.
Using a wide network of covert cells, which are spread throughout Barrayar, Komarr and Sergyar, ImpSec has infiltrated agents into almost every underground movement, including the (now declining) independence movements on Komarr and Sergyar. ImpSec openly encourages citizens to denounce suspicious activities, through the use of monetary and prestige incentives. This results in an effective espionage service which is able to control almost every aspect of daily life.

Psychological harassment

The Imperial Security is a leading agency in psychological harassment technique of enemies of the Empire. The technique is nicknamed "corrosion". One great advantage of the harassment is that its subtle nature means that it is able to be denied.
The psychological harassment was developed starting from the late 2980s, in order to have an instrument more useful than overt persecution in several contexts, also due to increasing criticism which some political opponents started to make. It was realised that psychological harassment is far less likely to be recognised for what it is: therefore its victims, and their supporters, are less likely to be provoked into active resistance.
Tactics employed under the harassment procedure generally involve the disruption of the victim's private or family life. This often includes psychological attacks such as breaking into homes and messing with the contents – moving furniture, altering the timing of an alarm, removing pictures from walls or replacing one variety of tea with another. Other practices included property damage, sabotage of cars, purposely incorrect medical treatment, smear campaigns including sending falsified compromising photos or documents to the victim's family, psychological warfare and subversion, mysterious phone calls or unnecessary deliveries, even including sending sex toys to the target's wife.

Influence activities

Outside of wartime, the "soft power" is used to express the external power of the Empire. This mode of expression of the power may allow a State, mainly through the use of influence activity, to guide and shape reality beyond national borders according to its interests.
The influence is the activity carried out by subjects in order to guide it to your advantage to the views of an individual or a group. The implementing activities consist essentially in the orientation of opinions.
The information warfare is a concept based on the idea that information is a battlefield that sees information constituting, at the same time, an offensive instrument and an objective. The information warfare includes the actions taken in order to gain superiority in the information domain undermining the systems, processes and information assets of the opponent and while defending their systems and networks as well as, more generally, the use of the information to the pursuit of national interests. The information warfare also includes a series of activities typical of the traditional intelligence but who may take advantage from the influence.
Therefore, the influence is an activity of the intelligence agencies, through which two or more actors are confronted. It is conducted in the information domain. The influence activity is a non-ordinary intelligence activity, being an action by which one tries to determine to their own advantage the policy of a certain country, influencing the decision-making process. The interference is an influence activity on a very large scale, through the use of important positions, such as mass media, financial centres or individual financial assets acquired secretly or even openly.
The influence activity, especially that of a strategic level, is divided by means of a complex system, consisting of a wide range of organized structures, and individuals, some of whom are not aware of their role.
The influence is based on the targeted use of information in order to generate cognitive and psychological effects that can alter the perceptions and influence behaviours, attitudes and opinions.
The 'readjustment' of the person affected can be induced not only by verbal messages and arguments but also through the use of images, sound and behaviour: the information used in a process of influence are understood in their broadest sense. The influence of behaviour, attitudes and opinions can be developed both by the use of information totally true, by giving precedence to the factors of credibility and attractiveness, and through the use of deception techniques. The agent of influence is a secret agent who operates in disguise but openly, without committing any crime, spreading ideas, supporting theories, directing the movements of opinion, in accordance with the instructions received and followed in order to achieve certain effects in the environment opponent according to the objectives of the policy of your country. The agent of influence is also the one who acts for personal belief in the same way, without realising that he is being manipulated by others and without realizing, perhaps in good faith, that he is working for foreign interests and even in conflict with his own interests and those of his own country. The agent of influence does not necessarily have the sole task of operate in the field of influenza but also can deal with, simultaneously, intelligence gathering.
This potential duplicity of charge stems from the position that often covers the agent of influence within the enemy establishment: a privileged position which allows him to directly manipulate the perceptions of the other party and guide their behaviours and decisions, allowing him to have access to sensitive, and sometimes fundamental, information. Agents of influence can be recruited among executives of a country or "helped" to rise to high levels of political, bureaucratic, scientific, financial, banking establishments or through individuals of a special personal authority, cultural and moral. The agent of influence is not always related to an organic relationship with the intelligence apparatus that operates frequently and the relationship between the agent and the structure is flexible in nature and varies depending on the circumstances.
The agents of influence can be classified into three categories, graded based on the awareness of the agents and the intensity of the control exercised by the apparatus against them:

  • Trusted contacts: persons who, while sharing ideals and objectives of the foreign country, they are not willing to receive instructions or directions on how to operate and normally these agents are not paid.
  • Controlled agents: agents that receive instructions and guidelines on how to conduct the operations of influence and, as a rule, receive remuneration for the services performed.
  • Non aware agents: agents that, in addition to being bound by an organic relationship with the structure of intelligence that uses them, act unconsciously manipulated by the resources of the service and sometimes against their own interests.

However, agents of influence are not mere executors of orders and are not motivated , in general, from an economic rewards. The agents of influence, although enjoy a wide margin of freedom, however, are 'managed' and coordinated by organised structures, due to the security apparatus, especially in the case of campaigns to influence complex, characterised by a high level of sophistication and projected in the long term. The strategic planning phase must be complemented by a control activity, aimed at continuous monitoring of the campaign, in order to make, if necessary, adjustments and corrections, or, at worst, to suspend the campaign itself.

Communications interception

In order to lawfully conduct communications surveillance, an ordinary law enforcement agency must seek authorisation from a court and produce an order to a network operator or datasphere service provider, which is then obliged to intercept and then to deliver the requested information. In contrast, Imperial Security operatives can conduct surveillance directly by utilising lawful interception equipment called SPESYS, operated and managed by the Signals and Communications Security Department.
SPESYS is the Barrayar’s three-planetswide system of automated and remote legal interception infrastructure. Full implementation of the project occurred in the early 2990s. The Ministry of Posts and Communications signed off the first SPESYS-related document in 2995. It obliges operators to allow security services to listen in to conversations and to intercept messages.
SPESYS-1 intercepts real time communications, including mobile devices, while SPESYS-2 is responsible for intercepting datasphere traffic. SPESYS-3 gathers information from all other communication media, and offers long-term storage, providing access to all user data.
Every Barrayaran datasphere service provider is obliged to install remotely-accessible surveillance systems at its own expense. Licences issued to providers and hosting providers require companies whose business is to rent out site space on their servers to give the security services access to these servers without informing site owners. The licence-holder must fulfil the demands laid down by the Imperial Security for the execution of operational investigative activities, and also take steps to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of the organisational and tactical practices of these activities.

Security details

In the Empire of Barrayar, security details are provided to some high-risk individuals by the intelligence agencies and by the police. Depending on the threat perception to the person, the category is divided into four tiers: A+ (highest level), F, G and X.

  • A+ category has a security cover of 36 personnel [including 10+ ImpSec commando] + [Police personnel];
  • F category has a security cover of 22 personnel [including 4 or 5 ImpSec commando] + [Police personnel];
  • G category has a security cover of 11 personnel [ including 1 or 2 ImpSec commando] + [Police personnel];
  • X category has a security cover of 5 or 2 personnel [No ImpSec commando only armed police personnel]

In some cases being placed in a category is viewed as a status symbol by politicians, and some may use their clout to secure an A+ security cover.

Internal security and Crime fighting

The very core of ImpSec's mission is aimed to the defence of the Empire and its institutions against whoever tries to threaten them, and from all subversion attempts and matters involving organised crime. This task make the crime fighting a mere consequence of the former: the intelligence bodies often co-operate with both Gendarmerie and courts, but crime is fought by the Imperial Security as a challenge to Imperial overrule more than on grounds of legal reasons. The Imperial Security is not a super-cop agency, but it is a political security organisation, which cooperates with other agencies to fight crime.

2978 Yavorova Act

In order to enhance the ability to fight terrorism and internal subversion, a whole set of laws have been established since long time. Citizens must communicate what they know about terrorist activities, coups or conspiracies and murders of statesmen and armed uprisings, otherwise facing jail; telecom operators are obliged to store information about conversations between users for three years and the content of their correspondence, including videos, for a full year and such information must be provided to security organs at their request. For instant messaging programs and social networks are worth the same obligations. Finally, in case of use of encrypted messaging programs, the internet has to provide to the Imperial Security keys for decoding. Failure to disclose such information is punishable by a fine of up to one million marks.

Permission for investigation

Pursuant to 2901 Security Act, investigation of ImpSec members, in course of their duties, due to crimes that have derived from the nature of their duty or that are alleged to be committed during the conduct of their duty or due to allegations of crimes, requires the permission of the Prime Minister.

Permission for testimony

Giving testimony by the ImpSec members is subject to the permission of the Chief of the Imperial Security. The fact that the ImpSec members may not give their testimony concerning State secrets that they have learnt in course of their duties without receiving the permission of the Chief of the Imperial Security serves the aim of protecting State interests.

Foreign intelligence doctrine

As every foreign intelligence agency, the Galactic Affairs Department strives to learn the secret intentions, capabilities, and strategic plans of other states; the Barrayaran core doctrine holds that such important secrets can and should be procured directly from the classified files in offices of the government in question and from informants among its civil servants. When Barrayar wants to know the exact military strength of another country, the effort is aimed get the figure, not by doing open-source research on the productive capability or assembling educated guesses and rumours, but mainly by asking their secret informers within the foreign war ministry and by stealing the desired information. In the Empire of Barrayar research on publicly accessible materials is conducted by the Academy of Sciences, the universities, the scientific journals and the Ministries: ImpSec (as well as the Military Intelligence Service, although to a lesser extent) bases its work on secret sources and undercover agents. This enables them to sneak well-guarded technological secrets: important state secrets and especially clues to the intentions and plans of potential enemies cannot be found in libraries or encyclopaedias.
The Imperial Security does not look for information in public documents, neither is it interested in monitoring foreign transmissions; it procures the military secrets of foreign governments from the classified files of the general staffs of those countries, from the secret reports of foreign defence ministries, from military research laboratories and proving grounds, and so it knows that what it gets represents, even if incompletely, the true facts on which Barrayaran policy makers can confidently base their decisions. The Galactic Affairs Department is actively engaged in at least seven lines of intelligence and related work, not counting sabotage and guerrilla warfare.
The first line, which is considered the most important, is the so-called diplomatic intelligence, the purpose of which is to keep the Barrayaran government informed of the secret deals between the governments of foreign countries (especially of the least friendly ones) and of the true intentions and contemplated moves of each of these governments toward the Barrayaran Empire. This information is to be procured from primary sources within the secret councils of the foreign governments. The principal sources are foreign diplomats (including ambassadors), the staffs of foreign ministries (including code clerks, secretaries, etc.), private secretaries to members of the cabinet, members of parliaments (if present) and ambitious people seeking financial aid. The life history of such officials is carefully studied in order to finding the weak points of each and securing the right approach. These well-prepared approaches have often paid off.
The second line of Barrayaran intelligence activity is to procure data on the military posture of foreign countries (mainly the Cetagandan Empire, Beta Colony and Escobar), the quality and strength of their militaries, and the productive capacity of the armament industries and the mobilisation plans of the big powers. Barrayaran intelligence watches with a jealous eye every new invention in the field of arms and tries to steal it while it is still in the blueprint stage or on the drawing board so that Barrayaran inventors and engineers can be the first to apply it. In wartime, military intelligence becomes the principal function of every branch of the Galactic Affairs; the main task of its field posts, its underground residencies abroad, is then to inform the Barrayaran about the war plans of the enemy, his troop concentrations and movements, the size of his uncommitted reserves in men and materiel, and the extent of the damage inflicted on the enemy. Diplomatic intelligence concentrates the efforts of its informants and secret agents on watching the relations among the governments of the enemy coalition, with special emphasis on frictions among them. The residencies keep a sharp eye also on Barrayar's allies in the war, immediately signalling if an ally puts out peace feelers and is gravitating toward a separate peace with the enemy. While the residencies abroad keep the government informed of the enemy's grand strategy and his capabilities and vulnerabilities, day-to-day tactical or combat intelligence is taken care of by the Military Intelligence Service and by the special detachments of the Imperial Security attached to all ground units. It is their duty co supply the commander with tactical data on the enemy force.
The third line of Barrayaran intelligence is called economic intelligence, which is aimed to studying the economy of foreign countries, as well as to defend the Barrayaran economy. Its purpose is to assist in the industrialisation of Barrayar by stealing production secrets-new inventions, secret technological processes, etc. from more advanced countries. Imperial Security and other public organisations abroad do recruit engineers, scientists, and inventors working in the laboratories and plants of the big industrial concerns of the Nexus.
The fourth line of intelligence is misinformation; the Barrayaran government is interested not only in obtaining information about the policies and impending moves of other countries but also in misinforming and misleading the foreign governments concerning its own position and intentions. But while in procuring secret information from abroad the intelligence officer is given free rein to steal whatever he considers valuable, the task of misinforming the Nexus about Barrayar's standing cannot be left to the intelligence service's discretion. What false information or rumours should be deviously placed within earshot of some foreign government is a question of high policy. In this area, therefore, the Imperial Security cannot act without specific directives.
The fifth line of intelligence is infiltration into the security agencies and intelligence services of foreign countries. The principal aims pursued in infiltrating foreign security agencies are the following: to find out what these agencies know, to determine whether they have succeeded in planting counterspies, to learn in good time of any intended arrests of network personnel and to use their facilities to check up on persons. The penetration of foreign intelligence services is done to find out whether they have succeeded in creating a spy network in Soviet Russia, and if so who these spies are, what secret information they have transmitted, and what lines of communication they use.
The sixth line of foreign intelligence is to influence the decisions of foreign governments through secret agents occupying important positions within them. This activity is divided by means of a complex system, consisting of a wide range of organised structures, and individuals, some of whom are not aware of their role.
Another type of political action is to pave the way in ticklish interstellar matters for later negotiations between the Foreign Ministry and other governments. If exploratory talks conducted produce results satisfactory to both sides, the official diplomats of both countries can then take over. Another activity along this line consists of clandestine attempts to induce leaders of a political opposition to stage a coup d'etat and take over the government.

Culture of the Imperial Security

Being an elite branch within the whole Barrayaran government, the Imperial Security has developed through its decades - and still is continuing to develop - a strong internal culture and an its own reference system and a world's view. In turn, the Imperial Security itself is featured by subtle variations on values or practices or simply rituals and unofficial symbols, although the overall esprit de corps is fully prominent over individual department rituals and cultures, also due to the fact that personnel is frequently moved trough ImpSec subunits.
The Eyed Sport Society, founded in 2893 by Aleksandr Negri, is the sport society which represents the Imperial Security, and is sponsored by them. The society has an its own special status.
Differences between Departments are often underlined by using unofficial - but openly tolerated - emblems, which are primarily shown at recreational facilities of both troops and Officers.
Professional background of the ImpSec personnel involves not only police-related knowledge, but also a more general view and psychological expertise, as well as a wide range of Intelligence-unrelated professions (from economists, financial experts, legal counsellors, technicians, armed security experts, bodyguards, doctors, military scientists, to crafts typical of espionage, as cryptographers, forgers, computer technicians, experts of observation, sabotage and explosives techniques and so on. The real secret agent is short, inconspicuous, balding, maybe with a little belly. But very clever. Usually an agent on mission is armed, and all generally have an identity of reserves with driving licenses, identity cards, passports generated ad hoc. They often live in apartments rented by front companies.
The double agents are rarely punished, but are used, i.e. they are privileged channels to find out how much they know opponents and to provide fake information to them. Then, when the game is over, a long vacation abroad is suggested.

Imperial Security Headquarters buildings

Due to the high-grade centralisation, the Imperial Security Headquarters have grown, through the time, from a medium-sized villa to several buildings across Vorbarr Sultana. Although nowadays ImpSec HQs are based on three distinct buildings, ImpSec HQs par excellence is an ugly and sullen building in the very city centre, which had exclusively hosted them for 76 years, since 2850 to 2936. At the present day, out of the three actual HQ buildings, only the first of them is officially named "ImpSec HQs", while the other two buildings are named "Emperor Ezar Security Building" (formally "ImpSec Main Office #01 - Emperor Ezar Building", Battle of Hagen Hub Cross, Vorbarr Sultana, Vorbarra District, Barrayar) and "Fort General Vorrutyer" (formally "ImpSec Main Office #02 - Fort General Vorrutyer", Battle of Solstice Alley, Vorbarr Sultana, Vorbarra District, Barrayar).

The Ezar Building, former headquarters of the Imperial Security.

The shift from one-building HQs to multiple buildings was caused in 2936 by a major accident. After the building was undermined by some Jacksonian people, by means of a prototype mycoborer, the soil turned under the building to mud, causing ImpSec HQ to sink several metres straight down into the ground. The building was stripped, cleared of classified and valuable materials, and sold off to a private investor. Finding a way to re-raise the building back to its original height and position, in following months he converted it into a themed resort: the resort opened in early 2938, about a year after the accident. The building was purchased back by the Imperium in 2969 and it was reopened and reassigned to the Imperial Security.
After the accident, however, ImpSec took refuge within some other government buildings, mainly Castle Vorrutyer and - for then-Chief of Imperial Security, General Guy Allegre, even the Imperial Residence. By little more than year, however, a great building was completed and named "Emperor Ezar Building": it was inaugurated in mid 2938 by Emperor Gregor, former-Chief of Imperial Security Simon Illyan and then-incumbent Chief Guy Allegre.

Fort Vorrutyer, current see of the ImpSec Troops.

Following the 2967 heart attack suffered by the Emperor and, more importantly, the growing political tensions and difficulties, ImpSec was assigned a further building, in the surroundings of Vorbarr Sultana. The building, a former, renovated military fort, was the "Fort General Vorrutyer" and it was very fit for the increasingly field-involved ImpSec activity. However, due to the climax of the severe political crisis, both Vorrutyer Fort and Ezar Building were not large enough to contain ImpSec central HQs. Therefore Crown Prince Serg Vorbarra seized back the property of the historical ImpSec HQs building, and reassigned it to Imperial Security. By 2977 both Chief of Imperial Security and central command activities were re-transferred to the building, alongside with some other offices and bureaus. Offices and departments are distributed among the buildings as follows:

  • ImpSec HQs: Chief of Imperial Security; Central Command; Imperial Security Headquarters Buildings Command; Forensics; Security Cell Blocks;
  • Ezar Building: Domestic Affairs; Komarran Affairs; ImpSec Medical Service; Administration; Food Service; Finance;
  • Vorrutyer Fort: Cryptography; Decipherments; Sergyaran Affairs; Housekeeping and Physical Plant; ImpSec Troops Command.

All three buildings have a garrison of ImpSec Troops in order to resist attacks and assaults, as well as an auxiliary infirmary.

Ezar Building

Ezar Building is the ImpSec skyscraper which formerly housed the supreme leadership of Imperial Security; nowadays it is the see of Domestic Affairs and of Komarran Affairs. It is a tall glass building with the shape of a line controlled boolean operated Extruder and is 290m high. The majestic skyscraper was built in response to the ImpSec HQs sinking in 2936. In mid 2938 Emperor Gregor inaugurated the new headquarters.

ImpSec HQs

Imperial Security Headquarters seen from the outer walls. Gargoyles on the top are hidden by solid steel nets.

Imperial Security Headquarters is the headquarters of Imperial Security; they are located in Vorbarr Sultana. The building was designed by Mad Architect Dono Vorrutyer at the time of the reign of Yuri the Mad Vorbarra: the construction began in 2856 and ended in 2860. The building was built in order to achieve a severe and majestic impression over visitors and ordinary passers: pained-looking gargoyles entirely circle the edifice. While the aesthetics of the building are often criticised, they are well-constructed so far as defensibility and resistance to various kinds of assault are concerned. Furthermore, the gargoyles sculpted in the round possess a severe political meaning: the building, and for extension the whole Imperial Security, frighten off and protect the Emperor as well as people from any evil or harmful spirit or trick. Over the years, the intimidating meaning declined and the statues got a more pronounced protective fashion, and some of them even became characters in children's educational cartoons (most notably "The Feats of Lieutenant Maddox", featuring gargoyles Goliath, Sharpsteel, Coldstone, Talon, Fang and Claw as co-protagonists). Nowadays gargoyles are surrounded by solid nets which protect the statues from the weather and partially hide them. The whole tower is surrounded in turn by a cobblestone courtyard and high stone walls topped with iron spikes, pierced by two guarded gates.

The building itself has no windows and is hermetically isolated from the outside, with a complete air recycling system, of the same type as that used on the starships. It has also explosion-containment structures. The air recycling system is based on single-room cell units: every room has a filter system and an analysis unit, headed by a central unit, which heats the air to thousands of degrees to destroy bacterial spores and the molecules of war gasses, before cooling it and putting it back in circulation. Video monitors watch all the ducts and piping. Being the forerunner for all the newer sensitive facilities, air vents are kept thin, with several obstacles against the penetration, including grates and solid membranes in order to prevent entry by vectors or humans, and deliberate metal disconnects to avoid sound transfer.
The building has two public entrances on the first floor, guarded by the the janitorial staff, made up of serving soldiers, veterans of at least 10 years standing. To reach the entrance is necessary to climb a 5-metres steep stairway. Inside the entrance is a security area, where identity documents are checked, and a cloakroom where everyone leaves his coat, with the exception the Emperor or his Auditors. Entrances themselves consist of both great bronze doors, which are rarely opened, and of ordinary entrances.
Inside the building there is a maze of corridors and lift-tubes; outsiders are almost always assigned an escort, both for security and internal navigation. The clerks and joint-service analysts work in long, bare corridors lined with tiny cubicles, dotted by coffee dispensers; these dispenser have assumed a sort of social and professional function, being the locations where ImpSec personnel meet each other (also from distinct sub-departments), allowing and favouring diverse opinions, often not directly related to working issues, but still useful. This allows a deeper and wider issue comprehension which works also outside the formal and pre-ordinated inter-department working groups. Being a successful method, the practice of disperse food and beverage dispenser has been continued also in the new buildings, as well as in the second life of the original building. However, alongside the isolated dispenser, there are also some mess halls located on the central floors; food rations to detachments depart from these kitchens.
Forensic laboratories and a clinic occupy a full floor. There is also an infirmary, small but complete, with a couple of examining rooms, private rooms, cells for treating prisoners and guarded witnesses, a surgery, and an interrogation-chemistry lab. The detention area is located in an inner quadrant of the second floor; elsewhere are small but comfortable secured apartments for protected witnesses.
The sub-sub-basement of this building is filled with cells for political prisoners.
The communication system is secure: every com-console can open an secure line. The computer file system is super-secure, and data cannot be copied out wireless; a physical connection is required, with a special cable. Each door, especially those accessing to sensitive rooms, can be secured by handprints and retinal scanners. Palm scanners read heat, pulse, and electrical conductivity, in order to prevent the use of a cut-away hand.
Nicknames for the old building include "Paranoia Central" and "Cockroach Central", the latter name being used even by the people who work there.

Special vehicles

While ImpSec regularly uses standard issue military vehicles, among its inventory also has a number of specially-made vehicles and craft.


The Esajet is a technologically advanced VTOL suborbital-capable jet used by the Imperial Security teams for tactical personnel transportation and attack. The Esajet is able to reach high speeds through two powerful jet engines located at the rear of the air vehicle. The Esajet also has adjustable wing tips that can be angled down to intensify the lift of the wing rotors and modify the movement of the ship. The Esajet also has wings that fold inwards and around the main body of the jet so that it can be storaged in relatively cramped spaces.
While most Esajets are lightly armed, they can easily upgraded with a wider range of weapons and highly advanced stealth capabilities. Each vehicle has a crew of two (pilot and gunner) and may carry a team of 5 troops.

ImpSec political role in the Empire of Barrayar

ImpSec has been criticised from abroad for human rights violations. A number of opposition lawmakers and investigative journalists were murdered in the 2960s while investigating corruption and other alleged crimes perpetrated by alleged ImpSec officers. In the mid-2990s, the sociologist Olga Darcy claimed that ImpSec played a dominant role in the country's political, economic and even cultural life. Active and former ImpSec officers are also present as "curators" in "almost every single large enterprise", both in public and private sectors.
In recent years several calls for reform of the intelligence and security community have been voiced: most of these call for the end of the three-folded model (MoPIL-SOCA; ImpSec; M.I.S.) and for the creation of a single internal security service by merging Barrayaran, Komarran and Sergyaran sections of ImpSec with the MoPIL; the Galactic Affairs Department would become the foreign intelligence agency, in close cooperation with the Military Intelligence Service. These calls are frowned upon among pro-Emperor circles.

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