The Resources Development Administration, or RDA, is the largest single non-governmental organization in human space. Its power is such that it outmatches most of Earth governments in wealth, political influence, and military capability. The RDA has monopoly rights to all products shipped, derived, or developed from Pandora and any other off-Earth location. These rights were granted to the RDA in perpetuity by the Interplanetary Commerce Administration (ICA), with the stipulation that they abide by a treaty that prohibits weapons of mass destruction and limits military power in space.
With millions of shareholders, the RDA is the oldest and largest of the quasi-governmental administrative entities (QGAEs), but its origins are far more modest. The entity that would become the RDA was little more than a Silicon Valley startup in the early 21st century, when its founders borrowed money from friends and family to begin the company.
After only a few decades, the company had the capital and stature to propose the construction of a world-spanning rapid transit system that would allow entire population groups to conveniently commute hundreds or even thousands of miles to perform work where it was needed, without impinging on the cultural values of host populations. The success of the venture led to the current global network of maglev trains that require the superconductor material known as unobtanium for their continued operation.
Expeditions to Pandora
The company's early expeditions to Pandora were seen as a colossal risk; the construction of the ISV Venture Star in the late 21st century alone put enormous strain on capital resources. But with exclusive mining rights to Unobtanium (which is valued at 20 million dollars per kilogram raw and 40 million dollars processed), and potential profits from countervirals, biofuels, and cosmetics, the enormous capital investment has paid off.
Unfortunately, the RDA's environmentally harmful mining operations on Pandora and the RDA SecOps' destruction of the Trees of Voices and the assault on the Omaticaya Hometree had led into a war between the RDA and the native Na'vi that ended with the RDA being driven off Pandora; whether they will return or not is still to be seen.
Main article: Security Operations
The Security Operations (also: SecOps) is comprised of former military personnel from Earth, now serving as a mercenary force on Pandora. The RDA's SecOps strength is significantly larger than most other military forces on Earth, and includes large interstellar ships, walkers, and heavily armed infantry. Some of its ships include the Aerospatiale SA-2 Samson, Scorpion Gunship, Dragon Assault Ship, and Valkyrie shuttlecraft. Its ground forces include Amplified Mobility Platforms and infantrymen. They receive their supplies from Earth by interplanetary supply ships, such as the ISV Venture Star ship, and even bigger vehicles. Their mining vehicles are the Bucket Wheel Excavator, the bulldozer, and many other vehicles. Their fast and lighty armored vehicles include the Swan, the Buggy, and the ATV Grinder vehicle. Their water-related vehicles include the Gator and the RDA Boat.
- James Cameron's Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide, page XV
- Pandorapedia - RDA article