The Commission on Superhuman Activities is a specially appointed task force that operates under the direct command of the President of the United States and that has been charged with the task of supervising America's so-called "superhuman resources," or, in other words, American citizens possessing superhuman powers.
The full scope of the Commission's powers has yet to be revealed. It is not yet known to what lengths the Commission will go to locate Americans with superhuman abilities and to supervise their activities. The Commission's task was made easier by the recently passed Mutant Powers Registration Act, which requires that all mutants with superhuman abilities register themselves as such with the federal government.
It has been made clear that the Commission will take action against any superhumans whom its members regard as threats to national security. After the government ended its direct ties with the Avengers, the Commission sought to form a team of superhumans who would operate under their own direction to cope with threats posed by other superhumans. Commission member Dr. Valerie Cooper, founded the team that the Commission wanted when Mystique, leader of the second Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, offered her group's services to the government. Dr. Cooper now supervises the activities of the Brotherhood, now renamed Freedom Force, for the Commission, and has had other superhumans inducted into the team.
The Commission summoned Captain America (Steve Rogers), to appear before it and pointed out to him that his costume, his shield and even the very name and concept of Captain America were created by the federal government; hence, the Commission claimed, they were all federal property. Moreover, the Commission asserted that Rogers had never been officially discharged from the United States Army. Hence, the Commission demanded that Rogers stop acting as a free agent in the role of Captain America and that he instead operate solely under the direction of the federal government. Unwilling to agree to the Commission's terms, Rogers abandoned the role of Captain America. On behalf of the Commission, Dr. Cooper offered the role to Super-Patriot (John Walker), who accepted it.
Douglas Rockwell, the chairman of the Commission was secretly in league with the subversive Red Skull, who used the disguise of “Mr. Smith”. The Red Skull had Rockwell arranged for the Taskmaster to train John Walker to become the next Captain America in order to disgrace the image of Captain America. In order to conceal the Red Skull's involvement, Douglas Rockwell had the Commission work out a deal to have years taken off Taskmaster's sentence for training Walker. After Taskmaster successfully trained Walker for the Commission, the Red Skull had it arranged for the Taskmaster to escape from the Commission's detention center so he could continue training lackeys for the Red Skull. After the Skull murdered Rockwell, Dr. Valerie Cooper succeeded him as chairperson and reinstated Rogers as Captain America.
When Loki gathered the Kingpin, Mandarin, Magneto, Wizard, Doctor Doom, and Red Skull to carry out various “acts of vengeance”, Congress felt a Civil War|Superhuman Registration Act was needed. Henry Peter Gyrich represented the CSA at the Congressional hearing. Gyrich argued that while unlike mutants, superhumans are primarily human and therefore entitled to the equal protection of the law, but their collective power causes the need for their registration. Gyrich proposed that any registered superhuman could be used to aid the government in tracking down unregistered superhumans. During the hearing, Dr. Doom used a device to attract Armadillo, Baron Brimstone, Beetle, Eel, Flying Tiger, Hydro-Man, Man-Ape, Orka, Plantman, Ramrod, Stilt-Man, Super-Adaptoid,Water Wizard and Whirlwind other villains to attack the Fantastic Four. However, despite the interruptions, Mister Fantastic was able to convince the Congressional board that the full ramifications of the act have not been thoroughly understood and further reflection is needed. The Congressional board decided to halt the act for future consideration.
During a televised raid of a house containing select villains that had recently escaped from the super villain facility at Ryker's Island prison during a massive breakout, the escaped villain Nitro let off a massive explosion that killed the majority of the New Warriors, as well as the children at a nearby elementary school. In the wake of the tragedy, the U.S. Government proposed the Superhuman Registration Act once again, intending to register all super-powered beings as living weapons of mass destruction and requiring all costumed heroes to unmask themselves before the government and subject themselves to federally mandated standards.
When the Superhuman Registration Act became law, the CSA contacted the Thunderbolts to help capture super-villains and persuade them to join the pro-registration side. Unknown to the CSA, the Thunderbolts had already started capturing super-villains three weeks prior in order to build an army against an upcoming threat from the Grandmaster. Those that agreed to join helped the Thunderbolts recruit more members until there was an army of villains, in which the group was called the Thunderbolts Army. While the Thunderbolts were preparing for their battle against Grandmaster, Dallas Riordan, met with Songbird privately to discuss the future of the Thunderbolts and candidates for the Fifty State Initiative. With the help of Songbird, the CSA gathered Bullseye, Lady Deathstrike, Jack O'Lantern (Steven Levins), Jester (Jody Putt), Taskmaster and Venom (Mac Gargan) to capture the Secret Avengers. Not taking any chances, Mister Fantastic chipped and tagged each member with nanobot technology to monitor their actions. Before the team fought as a unit, Jack O'Lantern and Jester were utilized in an attempt to capture Spider-Man, but were promptly killed by the Punisher in the process. Norman Osborn was placed in a leadership role for the Thunderbolts and had him persuade various villains to join the new group of Thunderbolts on a more permanent basis. Moonstone, Radioactive Man, and Swordsman agreed to join Songbird in the CSA’s new Thunderbolts.