Operation Gladio (Italian: Operazione Gladio) is the codename for a clandestine North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) ""stay-behind"" operation in Italy during the Cold War. Its purpose was to continue armed resistance in the event of a Warsaw Pact invasion and conquest. Although Gladio specifically refers to the Italian branch of the NATO stay-behind organizations, ""Operation Gladio"" is used as an informal name for all of them. The name Gladio is the Italian form of gladius, a type of Roman shortsword.Stay-behind operations were prepared in many NATO member countries, and some neutral countries.The role of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Gladio and the extent of its activities during the Cold War era, and any relationship to terrorist attacks perpetrated in Italy during the ""Years of Lead"" (late 1960s to early 1980s) is the subject of debate. Switzerland and Belgium have had parliamentary inquiries into the matter.