Department of Defense:

DOD's Training Program for Polygraph Examiners

NSIAD-86-33BR: Published: Dec 31, 1985. Publicly Released: Dec 31, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the effectiveness of the Department of Defense's (DOD) training program for polygraph examiners, focusing on: (1) whether the DOD polygraph school is authorized to conduct polygraph examinations for the purpose of training examiners; (2) the impact of any potential expansion of the school; (3) whether DOD and other federal agency examiner training needs warrant the construction of a new school building; and (4) Project Seven Screens and its relation to the congressionally authorized polygraph test program.

GAO found that: (1) a DOD directive on polygraph examinations does not authorize their use for training purposes; (2) DOD did not inform recruits who were given polygraph examinations that they were participating in a training exercise; (3) the school was instructing examiner trainees in specific techniques that could violate DOD policies designed to protect individual rights and privacy; and (4) a rapid expansion of the school would require additional instructors and could reduce the number of examinations that DOD could conduct in the near term. GAO also found that: (1) it is unclear how many examiners DOD will need to conduct its authorized number of screening examinations in 1986 and 1987; (2) DOD has generally been unable to utilize the school to its full capacity; and (3) it is uncertain whether DOD and other federal agency needs warrant the construction of a new school building for examiner training. In addition, GAO found that: (1) Project Seven Screens is an Air Force project for personnel screening examinations for special access programs; (2) the quality assurance for the Project is more extensive than in other polygraph programs; and (3) the Air Force has been conducting about 2,500 examinations each year since 1982 under the Project.

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