Polygraph Training:

DOD Program Meets Standards But Expansion Requires Better Planning

NSIAD-87-161: Published: Sep 18, 1987. Publicly Released: Sep 18, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) training program for polygraph examiners and its planned expansion.

GAO found that the polygraph training program meets or exceeds almost all available criteria, but DOD could improve its program by: (1) making faster progress in defining the role of its Polygraph Institute in its polygraph research; (2) developing a policy for nonfederal Institute students; (3) ensuring that the Institute does not have more instructors than it needs; and (4) ensuring that the Institute does not have more polygraph instruments than it needs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The standard operating procedure has been updated. Internal DOD comments on the polygraph regulation have been received. Negotiations are underway with the Army to resolve differences. DOD expects to issue a regulation in September 1991. Comments on the Institute directive have been received and evaluated. DOD expects to issue the directive in April 1991.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy to revise DOD directives to specify the Institute's role in planning, conducting, managing, and evaluating the DOD polygraph research program, and establish a policy with respect to reimbursement for training nonfederal examiners at the Institute.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes that it has justified construction of a new school building with 36 examining rooms. GAO believes that the size of the proposed school substantially exceeds the government's needs. The 1987 DOD Authorization Act includes $1.9 million for the building. DOD has started construction. Thus, there is no benefit to keeping the recommendation open.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to defer constructing a new building until DOD more clearly determines polygraph research and training needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: There has been no change in the authorized number of full-time instructors since the last report.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to assess faculty requirements, resources, and plans to ensure that the number of full-time instructors is maintained at the minimum needed to operate efficiently and effectively.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: No DOD components have requested any of the 20 instruments determined to be in excess to the Institute's needs.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to reassess the number and type of polygraph instruments needed by the Institute and make any excess instruments available to other Army, DOD, or federal activities that may be planning to acquire such instruments.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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