Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty (Barrayar)

Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty
Coat of Arms of the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty
Ministry overview
FormedApril 14, 2999 (2999-04-14)
Preceding Ministry
  • Ministry of Political Education
JurisdictionGovernment of Barrayar
HeadquartersCastel Vorreedi, Vorbarr Sultana
MottoWe live to serve
Annual budgetIM 1,100,450,000
Minister responsible
  • Admiral Boris Ivan Gustinevskij
Parent departmentCouncil of Ministers

The Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty is the government ministry on Barrayar in charge of Barrayar's high (i.e. political or particularly sensitive) policing, internal security (in cooperation with Imperial Security) and State secrets protection. It is headed by the Minister of Protection of Imperial Loyalty.
The Ministry works in liaison and in competition with the Imperial Security, although it is more focused on vigilance against bureaucratic corruption and, from a general point of view, it is focused on sensitive vigilance over common society more than proper espionage. Therefore the Ministry has three main functional fields of Empire-wide operations: public service control, propaganda and censorship, although on a discrete level, and protection of state secrets. These duties are often carried out in co-operation with other intelligence and/or investigation agencies, most notably the Imperial Security.
Unlike the Imperial Security, the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty is also a law enforcement agency in every respect, although with particular tasks and not under direct control of Ministry of Interior. Its main tasks are focused on control of the whole public services, both civil and military, and operates primarily as a policing and surveillance force. Being an agency which employs the intelligence-led policing, the Ministry, rather than reactively responding to individual incidents, conducts systematic analysis of offences and related activities, that allow to identify appropriate patterns and those who are responsible. This method is applied to the defence of the political system.
From another point of view, 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, as overseen and directed by the Emperor or the Prime Minister; operationally, this consultation is carried out by the Political and Security Committee.
While the Ministry officially only concerns itself with the internal affairs of the Empire, it is known to have a thin spy network in place also in other star countries of the Nexus.


The Ministry of Political Education was established during the reign of Emperor Yuri the Mad Vorbarra, and partly restructured by Emperor Ezar Vorbarra, under the leadership of Minister Grishnov. Following the orchestrated riots after the Escobaran War, Ministry buildings were attacked and looted by the enraged crowds and the Ministry itself was disestablished by Lord Regent Aral Vorkosigan, and its competencies passed entirely to ImpSec.
During the latest years of Gregor Vorbarra's reign, a civilian governmental structure with security tasks was created, and Emperor Gregor's son, the incumbent Emperor Serg Vorbarra, re-established the Ministry, although changing name and operational methods, in order to counterbalance the predominance of Imperial Security and to attribute to civilian government a similar - although somewhat complementary - intelligence agency. The establishment of the Ministry also allowed to consolidate in the Special Corps of Gendarmes, a single and more reliable structure, the various political/special police branches of the various local police forces of the Southern Continent which existed before the founding of the Imperial Police Force in 3001.


The MoPIL essentially inherits the “high police” function of the old Ministry of Political Education, enacting a policy of supervision and surveillance to keep control and to prevent disloyalty, being focused on Barrayar, but dealing control matters also on Komarr and Sergyar.
The Imperial Public Service control functions are focused in contrasting white-collar crimes made by or with the complicity of public servants. Where a political reliability is required, the Ministry acts as validation and verification centre, filtering suspect or non-reliable candidate individuals: in order to carry out such functions, the Ministry directs and organizes its own home espionage networks and counter intelligence. The public service controls includes also the control and surveillance over the Imperial Service, which is carried out in co-operation with the Service Security.
It is also responsible for enforcing security regulations, monitoring and censoring information leaving or coming into the country, including the planting and organizing of agents to track and monitor public opinion and loyalty, as well as ensuring the safety of important government officials and the security of state secrets, although in co-operation with Imperial Security.
The Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty, above all else, is a security organization, and as such, is designed for overt and clandestine surveillance and supervision to carry out its functions. The intelligence apparatus is able to permeate the state administration: each major department within the government, with the severe exception of the Imperial Security, has its own official supervisor, a “Special Section” staffed by the Ministry personnel to keep tabs on and regulate the employees and to ensure the absence of disloyalty.
The Ministry is retained a high level of autonomy and a remarkable amount of freedom of operation within the Imperial system, as the agency is only responsible to the Council of Ministers and to Emperor.

Overall organization

Propaganda poster depicting Minister Admiral Boris Ivan Gustinevskij.

The Ministry is based at Vorbarr Sultana. It is led by the Collegium of the Ministry, chaired by the Minister, and organised into ten departments.

The Ministry is an Empire-level governmental agency, controlling its corresponding branches in the other two imperial planets, Sergyar and Komarr. Other imperial ministries, by contrast, do not have corresponding branches in the other planets but executed their functions directly through Vorbarr Sultana. On Barrayar, however, local ministerial administrations are subordinated directly to the central offices in Vorbarr Sultana.
The Ministry also has a network of special departments in all major governmental institutions. They generally consist of one or more ministerial officials, whose purpose is to ensure the observance of security regulations and to monitor political sentiments among employees. The special departments recruit in-loco informers to help them in their tasks. A separate and extensive network of Political Officers exist within the Imperial Service and defence-related institutions.

Minister of of Protection of Imperial Loyalty

The Minister of of Protection of Imperial Loyalty is the head of its Ministry. He is assisted by two Deputy Ministers, and four to six Deputy Chairmen. The Minister is the head of the Collegium of the Ministry — which consists of the Minister, Deputy Ministers, Deputy Chairmen, Department Chiefs, and the two planet-level Ministry organization chairmen — who affect key policy decisions.
Directly dependant on the Minster, there is the Internal Audit organization, with tasks of internal control and financial inspections. The incumbent Minister is (retired) Admiral Boris Ivan Gustinevskij, the former Political Officer General.

Collegium of the Ministry

The Collegium is the leadership body of the State Security Committee, consisting of the Minister (who chairs the Collegium), his deputy Ministers and Chairmen and leading members of the central apparatus of the Ministry and its local branches. Members of the Collegium are appointed by the Emperor, on a non binding proposal of the Council of Ministers.
The Collegium is answerable to the Council of Minister and to the Emperor for the timely and efficient execution of all matters relating to the organization and activity of Ministry agencies and troops. Collegium meetings consider aspects of the operational, investigatory and other work of the Ministry, reports from the heads of the departments of the central apparatus, local branches and troops, drafts of the most important Ministerial decrees, instructions and orders etc.
Decisions of the Collegium are taken by majority vote and are binding on all members. They are promulgated in Ministerial Decrees. The Statute governing the Ministry specifies that, in case of serious disagreement between the Minister and the members of the Collegium on an issue under debate, the Minister defers the dispute to the Council of Ministers.
Ministry collegia are also formed under the Viceroy of Sergyar and under the Imperial Counsellor of Komarr.

Departmental organization

The Ministry is organized into nine main Departments, each performing a distinct operational or support function. Departments are further subdivided into Administrations, more specifically focused.

  • Special Council of State Security: convicts arrestees charged with committing political crimes, including espionage, and could banish them from certain areas, or from the Imperium entirely.
  • Department AD - Administration and Public affairs
    • Main Coordinating Administration: Coordinates its work with other intelligence agencies (ImpSec and Military Intelligence Service).
    • Security Co-ordination Administration: organizes and provides a compensation chamber for the Special Corps of Gendarmes, which provides the overt and official facilities and Department 1 (protection from the exterior at a bureaucratic and police support level).
    • Administration AD1: Training institutes
    • Administration AD2: Archives
    • Administration AD3: Personnel
  • Department IT - Information, operational intelligence technologies and technology
    • Administration IT1: Wireless transmission control and Sabotage
    • Administration IT2: Surveillance of cabled and mail communications.
    • Administration IT3: Information analysis
  • Department CS - Central services and support
    • Command of Special Corps of Gendarmes
    • Administration CS2: Central Medical Service
    • Administration CS3: Technical Support Service
    • Administration CS4: Security detention: the Ministry operates its own prison camps for political offenders.
    • Administration CS5: Central Political Database
  • Department 1 - Aliens and security threats posed to by foreign extremists or from abroad: it operates at a different level from the Imperial Security
    • Administration 11: Passport security control
    • Administration 12: Immigration surveillance: deals with cooperation with ImpSec, Sergyaran and Komarran law enforcement and with Immigration Services.
  • Department 2 - Counter-espionage, protective security and counter-sabotage
    • Administration 21: Designed as a para-terrorist force to combat the republicans, underground subversives and hostile elements; the Administration is also focused on security awareness education activities among local authorities encouraging reporting of suspicious people and activities.
    • Administration 22: Heavy industry security: counter-sabotage guarding.
    • Administration 23: Economic security: political and intelligence assistance against financial hostile speculations, co-operation wit the SOCA
    • Administration 24: Garbage analysis, it is responsible for analysing garbage for any suspect foreign foods and materials.
    • Administration 25: Local Intelligence: is responsible for directing and coordinating the work of local overt Directorates and subordinate bodies of the Ministry at the District, Regional and municipal (and equivalent) levels, as well as the work of clandestine units; it liaises also with the Special Corps of Gendarmes, which actually operates local overt offices.
    • Administration 26: Datasphere and Cyber-Security: is responsible to communicate, control and coordinate the work of public authorities and the managers of telematic and datasphere networks.
    • Administration 27: Anti-Defection and Countersurveillance.
  • Department 3 - Armed Corps loyalty and Compliance
    • Administration 31: Political Officers Administration
    • Administration 32: Inspectorate of Police Services
  • Department 4 - Surveillance on state administrations
    • Administration 41: Anticorruption Bureau
    • Administration 42: Inspection Committee on Irregularities in the Imperial Public Service
  • Department 5 - Culture and censorship
    • Administration 51: Bureau of Censorship
    • Administration 52: Protection of State secrets
    • Administration 53: Arts and Sciences monitoring Bureau

Security Department

The Security Department is in charge of secrecy and political security of the workplace of every enterprise or institution of the Empire that deals with any kind of technical or scientific classified information (plants, R&D institutions, etc.). Every branch of the Central Statistical Administration also has a Security Department to control access, distribution, and publication of official economic, population, and social statistics. Copies of especially sensitive documents are numbered and labelled or stamped as secret or “For official use only”.
The Security Departments report to the Department 6 of the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty and are not subordinated to the management of the enterprise or institution. Among its functions is control of access to information considered state secret and of publications.

Department IT - Information technology security

The Department IT - Information technology security is the MoPIL department that is responsible for information technology security, including all technical means for the processing or transmission of information. Its responsibilities include investigation of security risks at the application of the information technology as well as development of security measures, particularly from information technology procedures and instruments for the security in information technology, to support the activities of the Government, development of criteria, procedures and tools for testing and evaluating the security of IT systems or components, testing and evaluating the security of IT systems or components and awarding security certificates of IT systems or components, which are used in the Government systems for the processing or transmission of classified information and the manufacture of data keys, which are required for the operation of admitted encryption instruments.
The Department also supports Police authorities as well as Imperial Security, as far as this is necessary to prevent acts directed at the security in information technology or result from the use of information technology. However, it is to be noted that ImpSec has an autonomous and confidential information technology security branch.

Administration IT1: Wireless transmission control and Sabotage

The Administration is responsible exclusively for the prevention and suppression of computer crimes, the common matrix, organized or terrorist, which have as target computer infrastructures of critical nature and of national importance. It makes use of high technology and highly qualified personnel, specialized in the fight against cyber-crime, cyber-terrorism and of industrial espionage. The Administration operates in turn, as its main body, the Centre for IT Security. It is organized on three sub-branches: an Operations Room, which manages the Contact Point, dedicated to the information interchange with the infrastructure, institutions and companies involved, a Data Gathering Section, tasked to collect data and information relevant for the purpose of prevention, through the constant Internet monitoring and the operational cooperation and information sharing with other law enforcement agencies, institutions and organizations involved in the ICT Security; and finally the Data Analysis Section, which elaborates collected data and information, prepares reports on the evolution of the threat and interacts with the relevant agency in the event of damage done or attempted.

Department CS - Central Services and Support

Department CS - Central Services and Support is the Ministry department that is responsible for carrying out police operational activities in the fields entrusted to the MoPIL, as well as to provide centralized support resources and staff. Departmental subdivisions inclute the Special Corps of Gendermes and information, technical and logistic resources needed in order to enforce security tasks.

Administration CS5: Central Political Database

The Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty has, placed under its own, a Central Political Database, in order to achieve operational autonomy from ImpSec. The Cabinet is divided into three parts:

  • an archive where all documents are inventoried for object, for example the leftist and republican groups and movements;
  • a personal archive format in the files relating to green personality subsidiaries;
  • an archive of informants made ​​up of sets of red dedicated to individual trustees and their activity relationships.

For each informant recruited by the operational organs of the Ministry (both the intelligence and the political police elements) is assigned a number and a code name, such as spy "John Smith" has the number "543" and the code name of "Potter"; the number also distinguishes the informant's personal red file. The informants' activity consists mainly in the preparation of information reports about the subject or the subject watched. These reports are then to be sent to conventional address prepared for reception by the Administration. Upon receipt of the reports, the Copy Office produces four copies of each document. Of these four copies one is communicated to the Chief of Department of Public Security, one to the Minister of Protection of Imperial Loyalty, who decides which transmit daily to the Prime Minister and the Emperor, and another copy is sent to the Imperial Security, and the fourth is assigned by the Administration head, according to the specific content of the report, to the official in charge for that field.

Department 3 - Armed Corps loyalty and Compliance

Trainee Political Officers Squad. Political Officers and their trainees may be used as support for the Special Corps of Gendarmes; however, this does not occur frequently.

Department 3 is the most visible branch of the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty and its most known representation. The Department ensures that every armed corps of the Empire which is directly or indirectly under the Government of the Empire is acting under compliance criteria. The Department has two main administration, one for each branch of the Imperial armed corps. The A31 supervises the Imperial Service, while the A32 inspects police corps.

Political Officers Administration

Political Officers are framed within the Political Officers Administration (A31), which is headed by the Political Officer General, the supreme chief and coordinator of all Political Officers. The Administration also has a number of Offices under it: the General Office, the Discipline Inspection Office, the Justice Office, Mass Work Bureau General Office, Cadre Office, Culture Office, Directly Subordinated Organs Work Office, Liaison Office, Organisation Office, Propaganda Office, Security Office.

Political Officer

The Political Officer is the supervisory political official responsible for the political loyalty and organisation, and fealty to the Emperor of the military. The political officers are formally responsible for monitoring the military for loyalty; safeguarding military information; monitoring domestic political, economic, and social activities that might jeopardise military capabilities and national unity; maintaining defence industrial security - both physically and in terms of counter-espionage; countering enemy infiltration; detecting espionage and political security law violations; and conducting special investigations at the direction of the Emperor, the Prime Minister or the Minister.
The Political Officer figure was re-established in 2993, and it has a very different role from those of XXIX century counterparts under the Ministry of Political Education. The new Political Officer is by law a retired military officer, as part of the Military Compromise, through which the military agreed to the re-establishment of such a figure. The Imperial Security is completely exempt from the supervision of the Political Officers, while the Service Security is subject to the supervision only when acting without links with yet supervised units or detachments.
The Political Officer holds military rank equalling that of one lower than the unit commander to whom he was attached; moreover, the PolOff also has the military authority to countermand the unit commander's orders only when most strictly required and necessary, being their ordinary work strictly confined to non-combat functions, such as propaganda, morale boasting and military censorship. Their activity consists in bringing close to the soldiers of the Imperial Service, through lectures and discussions, the loyalty to the Emperor and to the Imperium: because the nature of their duties, Political Officers deal mainly with the Service Security, especially if the Political Officer is embarked on a spacecraft on duty. Typical fields of activity of a Political Officers are also some administrative tasks such as public relations and legal counselling. These elements operate largely outside the unit's chain of command and perform a highly effective independent audit function. The Political Officers never rival unit commanders as their previous counterparts occasionally had. Their input into officer evaluations, however, often plays a significant role in career progression, giving them influence beyond their rank and producing friction between them and the regular military. Corruption is difficult to verify, but political manipulations and misappropriation of operating funds easily may occur.
Political Officers are framed within the Political Officers Administration (A41), which is headed by the Political Officer General, the supreme chief and co-ordinator of all Political Officers. He is, by law, a retired fourth level General/Admiral.
The political supervision of the Imperial Service is effected by the Political Officer, who is assigned to every unit and formation, from battalion to division-level, including equivalent echelons of the Space Forces. Political Military Commissions are established at higher levels, comprising at least three Political Commissars. These political officials are denominated "Members of the PMC", not "Political Officer", despite actually being official political officers. The three levels of Political Officers are:

  • Political Commissars are assigned to all organisations at the regiment level and above (from Major/Commander to Brigadier General/Commodore);
  • Political Directors are assigned to all battalion-level independent organisations (Ground Captain/Lieutenant Commander to Major/Commander);
  • Political Instructors are assigned to all company-level independent organisations (Ensign to Lieutenant).

Reporting directly to the Minister, Political Officers are present in all levels of command, with a PolOff assigned to every independent unit or formation. Political Officers have the authority to countermand the orders given by the military commanders they "supervise" if that is deemed absolutely necessary to prevent a treason, which leads to a significant state of tension between them and the career military personnel. In addition, each Political Officer has the power to investigate any member of the military suspected of disloyalty or treason against the Emperor, in a role which partially overlaps those of both ImpSec and Service Security.
Despite the degree of tension between Political Officers and career personnel, the general policy tendencies are to encourage both Political Officers and military personnel to form effective partnerships: their role is not that of a knife to the throat of the military, as it was Ministry of Political Education Political Officer's role, but that of a civilian government attaché to the general security of the Empire. It is not uncommon that 20 years-officers enter in the Political officers' ranks as Political Directors or Political Commissars.

Inspectorate of Police Services

The Inspectorate of Police Services (IPS, A32) is the Administration having statutory responsibility for the inspection of police forces. The Inspectorate reports on the activities of the territorial forces of Barrayar (including police activities of District forces), Komarr and Sergyar and other bodies involved in law enforcement. In inspecting police service, the Inspectorate uses watchdog tactics, such as "mystery shopping". The Inspectorate of Police Services has an Audit Commission for each body to inspect and audit; due to their specific autonomy prerogatives Northern District police forces are handled by a single Audit Commission with very limited powers and responsibilities. The Loyalty Investigation Board is tasked with monitoring sign of disloyalty within the police ranks.

Special Security Service

The Special Security Service is a direct political and military extension of the Emperor's will and was established in order to maintain direct control over local regiments and District militias in times of serious instability during 2960s. First framed within the Service Security, in 3000 the Special Security Service was transferred to the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty.


The worst hypothesis the Empire may face is the outright rebellion supported by units of the Imperial Service. To this end, the Special Security Service was established in 2968 as a joint venture between Service Security, Military Intelligence Service and Imperial Security, that would draw recruits from the Imperial Service, selected for their loyalty, ambition and willingness to use any means necessary to protect the Imperial order.
Nowadays, within Department 3 - Armed Corps loyalty and Compliance, troops of the Special Security Service are charged with maintaining the morale and loyalty of units across the Empire, rooting out serious criminality and corruption. The Special Security Service is kept from operating in active war zones, being confined to operations within the garrisons and bases being devoted to “policing actions” against Emperor Serg’s political enemies or brutal crackdowns at the slightest provocation. It is not unheard for a base of an armed organisation to be isolated, its officers interrogated and executed and all lower ranks to be shipped off to the penal establishments on the basis of the merest rumour of sedition.

Personnel and operations

Members of the Special Security Service are not only Political Officers, but ruthless figures of authority and fear within the Imperial Service. Members of the Special Security Service move freely around the sector in the execution of their duties and have access to intelligence sources regarding political and military matters. Members of the Special Security Service act with a brutal autonomy thanks to the indulgence of Emperor Serg. Their elimination of seditious elements within military units and pitiless reputation means that members of Imperial Service respond with fear and deep-seated loathing to a member of the Special Security Service.

Department 4 - Surveillance on state administrations

Department 4 - Surveillance on state administrations is the Ministry department tasked with carrying out the general surveillance on state administrations other than those watched over by Department 3 (i.e. armed organisations). Its tasks focuses mainly on misappropriation and corruption, although it does track and prevent also other and more serious signs of disloyalty.

Anticorruption Bureau

Administration 41: Anticorruption Bureau is an influential subdivision of the Ministry within the Public Administration Department, dealing with the surveillance on State administrations. It reports to the Minister of Protection of Imperial Loyalty and to the Prime Minister. Located in Vorbarr Sultana, the Bureau has been in operation since 3001 and it is particularly focused on combating corruption in State and self-government institutions. Its scope includes both investigating criminal corruption and preventing corruption which is not yet criminal, maintaining a disciplined, clean and honest government, and educate public servants about their duty and discipline. It is charged with informing the Minister and the Prime Minister.
Administration 41 has jurisdiction over central and local government: this extends to Ministers, local councillors, Governors, public servants, and staff of public bodies. Anyone can refer a matter to the commission. Administration 41 can compel witnesses to testify. Public hearings are designed to act as a preventative measure against corruption. Where Administration 41 rules that an official has acted corruptly, the charges are referred to the criminal justice system for consideration.
There are only limited controls on admissible evidence: sometimes evidence used in Administration 41 cases cannot subsequently be used in related criminal proceedings. There is no right to silence for witnesses called to the hearing commissions and failure to testify (along with misleading the commission) can lead to heavy jail sentences. The Bureau can collect information about law enforcement officers and any other government officials, including their private life, even testing their reliability by making a false attempt to bribe them.
Anticorruption Bureau is composed of a Presidency Commission (a President and two Deputies) and eight central Offices (Legal Office, Office for integrity and transparency, Office of Quality rating, Office studies and research, Administrative Office, Accounting Office, Secretariat, Personnel management Office). There are also several peripheral sections.

Inspection Committee on Irregularities in the Imperial Public Service

Administration 42: Inspection Committee on Irregularities in the Imperial Public Service is a subdivision of the Ministry within the Public Administration Department, dealing with inspection, citizen reception, complaint and denunciation settlement throughout the whole Empire of Barrayar. It conducts inspection, settles complaints and denunciations in accordance with laws. The Committee consists of a President, two Deputy Presidents, the Central Commission (composed in turn of the heads of the Central Offices) and the Central Offices. Central Offices may deal with actual inspection or with procedures. President, Deputies and the Central Commissions are assisted by a Secretariat, whose head sits in the Central Commission as an alternate member. The Committee has its heart and fulcrum in the Central Commission, which deliberates on Committee actions with a vote.
Inspection Offices are to deal with their own thematic inspections and are: Economic Sectors Inspection; General Economics; Internal Affairs; Socio-Cultural Affairs; Legal and Justice Affairs; Foreign Trade Affairs; Organisation and Personnel Affairs.
Alongside the eight inspection offices, there are three Procedural Offices, tasked with dealing with reporting citizen and the assistance to the public administrations found to be in need of improvements. These offices are: Citizen Complaints Handling Office; Settlement of Complaints Office; Post-inspection Supervision, Evaluation and Project Handling Office.
Finally, the Secretariat operates the Information Centre, the Inspector Training School, the Inspection Magazine and the Research Institute.

Department 5 - Culture and censorship

The Department 5 - Culture and censorship is the main department tasked with a dual function: on one hand, it has to monitor cultural expressions and their potential harm for the security of the Empire; on the other hand, the Department acts against dangerous or seditious manifestations and cultural expressions. In order to achieve such a result, the departmental Administrations can be gathered into two major groups, ordinary surveillance and active harm prevention. The former Administrations watch over their individual sectors in order to follow closely the cultural life, while they are not necessarily tasked to track down hostile expressions.

Arts and Sciences Monitoring Bureau

The Administration 53 - Arts and Sciences Monitoring Bureau examines massive amounts of data, the majority of which is mundane, for indications of dissident activity, and forwards summaries to the more-important Bureau of Censorship. The Bureau reports on the various art forms throughout the galaxy and passed judgement on the art in order to keep the art in line with the ideals of the Empire. The Bureau does not necessarily propose ban or censorship works of dissident art or those arts that might be unfavourable to the Empire. Scientific research is also monitored in order to report on the political acceptability of controversial scientific research.

Bureau of Censorship

The Administration 51, also known as Bureau of Censorship, is a bureau set up in the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty charged with censorship duties. The Bureau considers all manner of books and essays that are presented for public consumption: the primary object of this consideration to bring to the public books and essays that contribute to true education of the mind and the formation of manners, and to remove books and essays of seditious intent.
The main Committee of Censorship is the Vorbarr Sultana Censorship Committee. Censorship committees are also established in all other major cities and individual jurisdictions vary according the populations density. Printed material and manuscripts are subject to the bureau's oversight and approval.


While the MoPIL uses all kinds of surveillance technology and infiltration, they mostly use open sources. The Ministry publishes a yearly official report which is intended to raise awareness about dangerous activities. Main concerns of the MoPIL are:

  • Republicans, liberals, left-wing political extremists, platforms, movements and leagues, notably People's Defence League, as well as other smaller parties and groups preaching communism
  • Military impatience and subversion


Full-time officers are posted to major industrial plants (largely depending on how valuable a product is to the economy). Tiny holes are drilled in apartment and hotel room walls through which MoPIL agents film guests with special video cameras. Schools and universities are extensively infiltrated.
The MoPIL has formal categorisations of each type of informant. The roles of informants range from those already in some way involved in state security (such as the police and the Imperial Service) to those in the oppositionalist movements. Information gathered about the latter groups is frequently used to divide or discredit members. Informants are made to feel important, given material or social incentives, and are imbued with a sense of adventure, and only few are coerced into cooperating.

Extra-judicial punishment

The carrying out of extra-judicial punishments is a task officially entrusted to the Ministry. Individuals or groups deemed threatening the establishment may be targeted for punishment by the Government. Such actions happen quickly, with security forces acting on a covert basis, performed in such a way as to avoid a public outcry and/or international criticism. The most used approach is to punish a victim, but under circumstances that make it appear as self-defence or suicide. Extra-judicial punishment are planned and carried out by the Ministry under the direct order of the Minister, who in turn can act only under a direct order of the Prime Minister. The deliberate use of lethal force in extra-judicial actions is authorised only against a target that poses a continuing and serious threat and only when there is a near certainty that the target is present and that innocent people will not be injured or killed.

Undercover investigations

In order to combat political subversion and terrorism, the Special Corps of Gendarmes, within its duties of specialised police corps, is entitled to perform undercover investigations. Being a police body, for such investigations they depend on the High Treason, State Security and Terrorism Prosecution. The instruments used are the same as those used in the fight against organised crime, converted to the need to address terrorism in a effective and rapid manner. For this it is possible to make searches of premises of entire buildings or blocks of buildings when there is suspicion that there are weapons, ammunition or explosives, or that there is reason to believe that it is a refugee or an escaped fugitive for crimes committed for terrorism or political subversion.
The covert activities exclude the commitment of any offence for the Gendarmes who, in order to obtain evidence of the crimes committed for terrorism or political subversion, acquire, receive, substitute or hide money, weapons, documents, drugs, goods or things which are connected to the crimes, or otherwise hinder the identification of the origin or let that they can be used.
The conduct of such activity is assigned exclusively to officers and non-commissioned officers of the Special Corps of Gendarmes; operations can be authorized ​​by the Minister for the Protection of Imperial Loyalty, by the Commander of the Corps or, at their authorization, by the District commanders of the Corps.
It is permitted the use of false identities, as well as the use of movable and immovable properties. If the use of false identities is used on the datasphere, there is an obligation to inform the Prosecutor as soon as possible and no later than 104 hours after initiation of activities. The prosecutor must be informed in advance of the implementation of undercover operations. Similarly, the prosecutor must be reported without delay the results.

Protection of State Secrets

Access to all Government data is highly regulated and the protection of State secrets is handled by the Administration 52. Security levels are also variable, and task-specific. Certain areas are restricted to unauthorized personnel, regardless of security level; Emperor is always granted access, while Regent and Imperial Auditors may be, under exceptional circumstances, denied access to some files or documents.
The criminal law of the Empire of Barrayar makes it a crime to release a state secret. State secrets are defined as those that concern:

  • Major policy decisions on sensitive state affairs;
  • The building of national defence and the activities of the Imperial Service;
  • Diplomatic activities and activities related to foreign countries to be maintained as commitments to foreign countries;
  • Science and technology related to the national defence;
  • Activities for preserving state security and the investigation of criminal offences;
  • Any other matters classified as "state secrets" by the Government of the Empire.

Secrets can be classified into one of four categories:

  • Top secret: Defined as "vital state secrets whose disclosure would cause extremely serious harm to state security and national interests";
  • Highly secret: Defined as "important state secrets whose disclosure would cause serious harm to state security and national interests";
  • Secret: Defined as "ordinary state secrets whose disclosure would cause harm to state security and national interests";
  • Confidential: Defined as "ordinary state secrets whose disclosure would cause moderate harm to state security and national interests"

Security Levels

Level Typical Rank or grade
IS 12 Emperor and Regent
IS 11 Chief of General Staff;
Prime Minister;
Chief of Imperial Securit;
Minister of Protection of Imperial Loyalty;
Minister of Interior
IS 10 Fourth level General/Flag Officers;
Other Ministers;
President of the Police Headquarters in charge of the Imperial Police Force and of the general police services
IS 9 Top operatives and analysts of Imperial Security;
Third level General/Flag Officers;
Vice President at the Police headquarters and chiefs of Komarran and Sergyaran Police
IS 8 Operatives and analysts of Imperial Security;
Top operatives and analysts of the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty;
Top operatives and analysts of the Military Intelligence Service;
Second level General/Flag Officers
IS 7 Operatives and analysts of Imperial Security;
Operatives and analysts of the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty;
Operatives and analysts of the Military Intelligence Service;
First level General/Flag Officers;
Captain (Naval)/Colonel of Imperial Security
IS 6 Operatives of Imperial Security;
Operatives of the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty;
Operatives of the Military Intelligence Service;
Captain (Naval)/Colonel;
Commander/Major of Imperial Security;
District/Sector/Territorial Chancery police commander
IS 5 Operatives of Imperial Security;
Operatives of the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty;
Operatives of the Military Intelligence Service;
Lieutenant Commander/Ground Captain of Imperial Security
IS 4 Junior Officers;
Warrant Officers of Imperial Security;
City police commander
IS 3 Warrant Officers;
Enlisted personnel of Imperial Security
IS 2 Enlisted personnel
IS 1 Open Access [Read Only]

Note: Security levels beyond current rank can and are bestowed where, when and to whom they are necessary.

Publication Censorship Office

Within the Administration 52 - Protection of State secrets, the Publication Censorship Office operates in order to keep classified information from being released. All MoPIL, ImpSec and MIS officers, as a condition of employment, sign the standard secrecy oath when entering on duty. A secrecy agreement doesn’t oblige officers to absolute silence (unless mandated by the relevant organization to do so), but it requires them to keep secrets for as long as the Government of the Empire deems the information to be classified. This is a lifelong and even hereditary obligation. In order to help avoid the damage to national security that disclosing classified information would inflict, the MoPIL operates the Publication Censorship Office to preview materials produced by MoPIL, ImpSec and MIS personnel– former and current – to determine if they contain such classified information before they are shared with the public, including publishers, family members, Counts, or anyone else not authorized to receive or review such classified information. Also all Barrayaran subjects in any ways involved with intelligence or security operations must obtain the approval of the Publication Censorship Office.
The main purpose of prepublication review is to assist authors in avoiding inadvertent disclosure of classified information which, if disclosed, would be damaging to national security; the by-side aim is to prevent unfavourable views of the security organizations involved: therefore, permission to publish can be denied because information may be embarrassing, critical of it, or inaccurate. The Office goal is to act as a broker, not merely identifying problems but suggesting solutions. When replying to an author, the response either identifies words or passages for deletion or revision on the one hand or, on the other, provides a nihil obstat.
MoPIL, ImpSec and MIS officers required to submit to the Publication Censorship Office any and all materials they intend to share with the public that are intelligence related, such as materials that mention intelligence organizations or activities, or that concern topics to which they had access to classified information while employed at intelligence/security organizations. This submission requirement extends beyond the sub-set of topics they may have had immediate responsibility for on a day-to-day basis.
Beyond matters strictly prohibited, in order to get the authorization to distribute information a publisher must use Nexus regional terms instead of specific planets or countries; similarly, an officer must refer to subplanetary regions instead of specific cities or locations; general training or software descriptions are to be used as opposed to the specific names or titles (which may be classified); specific place or people names must be avoided, similarly to precise numbers. In order to get the permission, an officer must not use organizational names below the office level and specific details instead of general terms.
However, not everything requires prepublication review; matters clearly and in all ways outside intelligence and security purview does not need to be submitted. On the other hand, commentary on matters such as intelligence operations or tradecraft (even fictional works), foreign intelligence, foreign events of intelligence interest, one’s career, scientific or technological developments discussed in an intelligence context, and other topics that touch upon intelligence/security interests or responsibilities need Publication Censorship Office approval, also in order to protect security establishment from possible legal liability. A piece about a specific sector written by someone who has or had access to classified information on that specific sector must be submitted, even if the article did not specifically mention security or intelligence or related organizations. Reviewing writings of employees is not an option; prepublication censorship is essential to uphold the validity of the secrecy oath. However, negotiations with authors often result in finding acceptable substitutes to unacceptable pieces. Should an officer publish materials that contain classified information, he or she could be subject to harsh civil and criminal penalties. If an author does not submit material for review, the Publication Censorship Office and/or the concerned organization can block publication and/or seize the profits, even if there is no classified information involved.
The Publication Censorship Office is made up of senior officers representing each of Barrayar's security organizations: Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty, Imperial Security, Military Intelligence Service and Service Security. The staff may be integrated by a representative of Internal Troops, Imperial Service or Police force if the parent organization is involved. The Office Head is empowered to make review decisions on its behalf. Current employees have to submit material proposed for nonofficial publication through their supervisory chain of command to their own agency executive. The relevant organization may also deny permission to publish statements or opinions, interfere with the functions of the organization, or have an adverse impact on Barrayar's standing; the relevant organization is best suited to make that kind of determination. The Publication Censorship Office may take on the review of a current employee, however, at the request of an official in the employee's chain of command, usually if the proposed publication has establishment-wide implications or involves the equities of more than the employee's organization.

Special Corps of Gendarmes

On the rare occasions when an emergency must be handled directly by the Special Corps of Gendarmes, they use dark-red armoured vehicles, which carry a large MoPIL emblem. As for other police and security forces, most of them are derived from the Belykaban-class armoured personnel carrier.

The Special Corps of Gendarmes is the uniformed security police of the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty acting as a police special branch. Its main responsibilities are political law enforcement and state security enforcing on Barrayar (Vorbarra District and Southern Continent) and on Sergyar, while on Komarr the Imperial Security acts in a similar way. The official responsibilities and tasks of the Special Corps are focused on the connection between the investigative and judicial authorities and intelligence services (especially the Ministry itself). In addition, it must collect information relating to the social, political and economic situation of the Empire; it also must prevent the disturbance and implement the re-establishment of public order. From the point of view of judicial investigation, the Special Corps is responsible for judicial investigations related to terrorism and attacks against the State security; in this capacity, it is to note that the provisions that subject the police initiatives and activities to the intervention of the prosecutor do not apply in cases of crimes against the personality of the State, in case of terrorism offences or other offences related to them.
Using a wide network of covert cells, which are spread throughout Barrayar, Komarr and Sergyar, the SCS has infiltrated agents into several dissident movements, including the (now declining) independence movements on Sergyar. Thhe Ministry encourages citizens to denounce suspicious activities, through the use of monetary and prestige incentives. This results in an effective espionage service.
Since 3002, SCS has become operationally coordinated with the Political Officers in the Imperial Service, meaning that SCS units can be ordered to deploy by Political Officers (and vice-versa); however, this happens seldomly. The responsibilities of the Gendarmes also includes execution of MoPIL orders, chasing peculiar fugitives, aid to riot control, and detainment of "unusual" and political criminals. Gendarmes could also be assigned to assist police and local officials. The Special Corps co-operates with:

  • Imperial Security
  • Military Intelligence Service
  • Ministry of Interior
  • Service Security
  • Judicial authorities

exercising the powers to act as superintendent of police of the judicial authorities to protect the internal security of the Empire. Only the activities of the judicial police of the Imperial Security must be conducted under the direction of the Special Corps of Gendarmes.
Gendarmes can also request the collaboration of police agencies or bodies, as well as of individual agents and officers, directing the activities in the field. The personnel of the Special Corps of Gendarmes is often drawn from the various police forces (Imperial Police Force, Sergyar Police Service and Komarran Security Forces), and includes a permanent Liaison Delegation of the SOCA, upon pre-emptive screening and inspection of the Imperial Security and the Ministry for the Protection of Imperial Loyalty.
As statute, the Corps consists of:

  • Central Command
    • General Affairs Office
    • Anti-Terrorism Service: The Anti-Terrorism Service takes care of all the phenomena of contrast to the domestic and international terrorism. It is not a judicial police service, so does not take, on an ongoing basis, task for the judicial authority. The Anti-Terrorism Service acts of coordination and boost counter-terrorism sections of the local Directorates. The Service is also the terminal of the whole information flow of national intelligence and international, as well as of the police.
    • State Security Service
    • General Information Service
    • Special Operations Service
  • Sergyar Directorates (32)
  • Southern District Directorates (64; grouped into 8 Regions)

Anti-Terrorism Service

A Gendarme in full dress uniform, with backpack and laser rifle, ready for parade.

The Anti-Terrorism Service takes care of all the phenomena of contrast to the domestic and international terrorism. It is not a judicial police service, so do not take, on an ongoing basis, task for the judicial authority. The Anti-Terrorism Service acts of coordination and boost counter-terrorism sections of the local Directorates. The Service is also the terminal of the whole information flow of domestic and interstellar intelligence, as well as of the police.

State Security Service

The State Security Service carries out investigations directly, or assists, directing them, those investigations carried out by other police forces for crimes against the State or against loyalty to the Emperor, assisting and complementing the activities of the regional offices and commands. The Service can also claim for itself the investigations when it considers it necessary or when it is requested by the High Treason, State Security and Terrorism Prosecution. In addition, the Service is the service of judicial police of the High Treason, State Security and Terrorism Prosecution.

Special Operations Service

The Special Operations Service is a special and covert counter-terrorism and political-police assault unit of the Special Corps of Gendarmes responsible for performing high-risk tasks that require a diversified training and adequate preparation. The unit answers directly to the Minister of Protection of Imperial Loyalty.
The S.O.S. is considered a Regiment made up of two independent Battalions, one for each planet. Each Battalion, which is 800-men strong, contains two Assault Companies, a Training Company and a Logistic Support Company. In addition, the Command-and-Support Company serves as S.O.S. overall HQs.

Local Directorates

The Special Corps of Gendarmes has local Directorates on Southern Continent of Barrayar and on Sergyar, modelled on the boundaries of the first-level local government authorities. There are 32 Directorates on Sergyar and 64 on Barrayar; the latter ones are grouped into 8 SCG Regions which in turn operate Anti-Terrorism Information Units (ATIUs).
Each Directorate is organized in order to deal with matters of internal security. A Directorate acquires and develops intelligence, usually of a political nature, and conducts investigations to protect the State from perceived threats of subversion—particularly terrorism and other extremist activity.

S.C.G. - ImpSec cooperation

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 SCG Region on Barrayar, the Special Corps has established a Anti-Terrorism Information Units (ATIUs), 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.

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