Following the disclosure of the existence of the Stargate Program to Russia, Britain, China, and France, the Gate Alliance Treaty was signed, making the signatories de facto partners in the Stargate Program. An international committee was established to monitor the treaty, which promised that all off-world technologies would be shared among the allied nations. The international committee became the International Oversight Advisory, a civilian-run organization made of representatives from the various nations involved in the Stargate Program. Representatives have included Colonel Chekov of Russia, Shen Xiaoyi of China, Chapman of the United Kingdom, La Pierre of France, and Richard Woolsey from the United States.
Initially, the International Oversight Advisory, or IOA, was little more than an official alliance with no say in how the Stargate Program was run. The SGC remained under the control of the US military, answering to the Pentagon, and all funding was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The Atlantis expedition, on the other hand, was a civilian operation, and the IOA, who approved Dr. Weir's appointment as the head of the expedition, had considerably more input into Atlantis operations. This was undoubtedly the motivation behind the IOA's decision to throw their full financial backing behind the Atlantis mission and to consider the SGC as serving little more than a supporting role, although the official explanation for the focus on Atlantis was the prevalence of Ancient technology in the Pegasus Galaxy. When the Appropriations Committee cut funding for the SGC to one third of its previous budget, the SGC's only option was to appeal to the International Oversight Advisory for the additional funding they needed. Their request was granted, the IOA became a controlling body that managed the flow of funding into the program, and in return the IOA gained a say in the operation of the program as well as a watchdog within the SGC. Richard Woolsey became the IOA liaison.
With their influence over the Stargate Program, Woolsey and the IOA had the ability to control funding and approve or deny missions, and they closely monitored and frequently questioned or redirected decisions made at the SGC. When Mitchell was lost for more than two weeks on the world of the Sodan, the IOA prepared to order that he be declared MIA and that search and rescue efforts be terminated rather than directing further resources toward his recovery. When SG-1 brought Khalek to Earth and then prepared to return him to stasis because of the danger he represented, Woolsey insisted that studying him could be the key to learning a way to fight the Priors, not to mention that he could also be the missing link to achieving ascension, and he threatened that if the SGC didn't take advantage of an opportunity to study such a specimen then it was time to reevaluate both the operation and the leadership of the SGC. In response, Landry nearly made the decision to pull the plug on Woolsey's involvement and turn down the vital funding from the IOA, regardless of the consequences, however Woolsey was proven wrong and he retracted his position when Khalek attempted to escape and was killed. Although the IOA had signed off on the mission that eventually brought the Prior plague to Earth, they once again questioned the SGC's handling of the crisis. Approximately nine delegates, including Colonel Chekov and La Pierre, met with Landry at the SGC to express their concern about the situation.
In an effort to improve public relations and to reassure the IOA of the job the SGC was doing, the Pentagon made arrangements for members of the IOA to make their first off-world visit through the stargate. The visit was also intended to appease the Chinese government, who had been growing impatient with the lack of military technology that was being shared since the signing of the Gate Alliance Treaty. Representatives including Woolsey, Chapman, La Pierre, and Shen, were escorted by SG-1 for a tour of the Gamma Site. Unfortunately, an alien specimen at the base, a carnivorous insect known as R75, breached containment during the tour and the visitors barely escaped with their lives. Afterward, the fallout from the incident was surprisingly minimal, and Woolsey admitted that although the IOA seemed to do an inordinate amount of complaining, off the record they had nothing but praise for the job being done at Stargate Command.
Nevertheless, the Chinese government continued to feel that the US had not lived up to its agreement where the sharing of military advancements was concerned, and they began to seek a way to apply pressure to the US military and to ally themselves with Russia to gain more control of the program. On the eve of the renewal of the Gate Alliance Treaty, three years after its initial signing, representatives Chekov of Russia and Shen of China met with Landry to inform him that Russia would no longer be participating under the current structure and would be taking back the stargate that had been loaned to the SGC. Chekov informed Landry that Russia was prepared to establish its own stargate program with backing from China, but his announcement was no doubt made without the knowledge of the rest of the IOA and was merely intended as leverage in negotiating terms for the treaty more favorable to Russia. In exchange for a BC-304 Daedalus-class ship, Russia agreed to renew the current treaty, China did not gain the influence they sought, and control of the Stargate Program remained with the SGC.
Woolsey has continued to maintain contact and to make frequent visits to the SGC as the International Oversight Advisory liaison. As the Ori began their invasion of the galaxy through the supergate, Woolsey and the IOA considered bringing the Atlantis ZPM to Earth to power the Antarctic defense system, but their recommendation was impractical and was not pursued. Woolsey also participated in the evaluation of Vala in determining her suitability as a member of the SGC. The IOA closely reviewed the reports concerning Carter's modifications to Merlin's phase-shift device, and they pressed for trials on a larger scale beyond the lab. When Daniel was transformed into a Prior and he approached the SGC with a plan to defeat the Ori, Woolsey and the IOA recommended against following Daniel's plan and submitted their proposal to the President that Daniel's life be terminated immediately. The decision was later made instead to place Daniel in stasis in Antarctica until SG-1's mission to complete Merlin's weapon was deemed successful, but Daniel escaped and joined SG-1's mission before the IOA's plan could be carried out. The IOA again interfered when Arkad requested safe passage to the SGC despite intelligence reports that his forces were preparing an attack against Earth. Acting alone, Teal'c sought retribution against Arkad, but the IOA was adamant that Earth and the SGC take no action against Arkad, and they ordered SG-1 to find Teal'c and stop him at all costs.
The SGC continues to answer to the IOA, however, given the nature of many IOA directives which have resulted in threats to Earth and SGC personnel, friction between the SGC and the IOA has continued, and Landry, who has little patience for political maneuvering, has frequently left the IOA out of the loop when it comes to the more sensitive and classified developments on the base.
Cross Reference: Atlantis, Chapman, Colonel Chekov, Disclosure, Senator Fisher, Gamma Site, Gate Alliance Treaty, La Pierre, Pentagon, R75, Russians, SGC, Shen Xiaoyi, Richard Woolsey
Episode Reference: The Ties That Bind, Prototype, The Fourth Horseman, The Scourge, Crusade, Flesh and Blood, Morpheus, The Shroud, Talion