The Origin and Evolution of NCCA

The original U.S. Army Polygraph School was established in 1951 as part of the Provost Marshal General School at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and graduated its first class that same year. In September 1962, the Provost Marshal School was redesignated the U.S. Army Military Police School (USAMPS) and the Army Polygraph School remained under the auspices of USAMPS. In 1975, USAMPS and its Polygraph School transferred to Fort McClellan, Alabama. In November 1986, USAMPS Polygraph School was realigned and designated as DoDPI.

In 1983, the President signed National Security Decision Directive No. 84 (NSDD 84) directing the expansion of security programs. In 1985, Congress passed a bill directing and authorizing the Secretary of Defense to institute a program of counterintelligence polygraph examinations for military, civilian, and contractor personnel whose duties involved access to classified and highly sensitive compartmented information. Based upon NSDD 84, DoDPI expanded its curriculum to address increasing concerns in the counterintelligence area.

In August 1985, the Deputy Secretary of Defense signed a memorandum designating the Secretary of the Army as Executive Agent for polygraph training within DoD and DoDPI. In 1986 under the guidance of DoD Directives 5210.48, 5210.48-R and 5210.78, the Army Polygraph School became DoDPI.

Shortly thereafter, DoDPI transitioned from a vocational/technical polygraph training school to an educational institute in PDD. In April 1988, as a result of this mission expansion construction of a new building at Fort McClellan was undertaken. This multi-million dollar facility was dedicated in November 1989 to support DoDPI’s educational mission in law enforcement and counterintelligence issues. In 1988, an agreement was signed with Jacksonville State University (JSU), Jacksonville, Alabama, to award a Masters Degree in Polygraph with core requirements taught at DoDPI. This agreement was terminated in 1994 by JSU for financial reasons. Between 1988 and 1994, all students at DoDPI received graduate credit awarded by JSU for the DoDPI curriculum.

In September 1991, DoD Directive 5210.78 was revised, and the Secretary of the Army executive agency responsibility was eliminated. This change placed the authority, direction, and control of DoDPI under the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence.

In June 1993, the Joint Security Commission (JSC) was formed to address security concerns within the Federal Government, specifically within the intelligence community and the defense community. As part of its process, the JSC specifically reviewed polygraph procedures within the intelligence community. In February 1994, the JSC published its report that contained several security recommendations specifically relating to polygraph. One of the recommendations was to consolidate the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Polygraph School with DoDPI to form a polygraph institute that would conduct all PDD education and training of government polygraph examiners. Another recommendation was to develop standards within the intelligence polygraph community to ensure consistency in the administration, application, and quality control of screening polygraphs. Finally, the JSC recommended that DoDPI: be the executive agent for a robust, interagency-coordinated and centrally funded research program concentrating on developing valid and reliable security and applicant screening tests; investigate countermeasures; and conduct developmental research on PDD techniques, instrumentation, and analytical methods. Eventually, most of the JSC recommendations to increase the DoDPI mission in the polygraph community were adopted.

In October 1995, administrative and budget responsibilities for DoDPI were placed under the Defense Investigative Service now designated as the Defense Security Service (DSS). In February 1996, DoD Directive 5200.32 replaced DoD Directive 5200.42 as the governing document for DoDPI.

In early September 1996 in accordance with JSC recommendations and under the guidance and direction of DoD, DoDPI developed and established a Quality Assurance Program (QAP) for establishing and maintaining PDD standards within the Federal Government. While participation in the QAP is mandatory for DoD polygraph programs, all Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies with PDD programs voluntarily agreed to participate. QAP inspection teams consisting of PDD experts evaluate the policies and procedures, structure, approval process, statistics, continuing education, and implementation of technology for an inspected agency’s polygraph program. In 1998, QAP drafted Federal standards for establishing PDD program procedures and facilitated a discussion with the Federal polygraph program managers that led to adoption of the Federal PDD Examiner Handbook as the standard within the Federal polygraph community. The implementation of these procedures is monitored by QAP through biennial inspections of each of the participating agencies.

Also in 1996, DoDPI was established as the Executive Agent for the Federal Polygraph Continuing Education Certification Program (FPCECP). This program requires every examiner employed by the Department of Defense (DoD) to complete a minimum of 80 hours of relevant training every two years. Non-DoD entities are encouraged to participate in this program. The FPCECP requirement can be met in a variety of ways. As the primary source of polygraph education and training, DoDPI presents a varying schedule of approximately 18 courses each generally providing 40 hours of training to attendees. In addition, a limited number of hours may be amassed through agency in-service training. Other training opportunities include professional, scientific, and academic offerings. Examples include the American Polygraph Association (APA) Annual Seminar, seminars conducted through the Society for Psychophysiological Research (SPR), and the Advanced Polygraph Studies Program presented by the University of Virginia.

In January 1999, DoDPI began an effort to broaden its presence in the scientific and academic communities. In response to the need for more advanced technical expertise, DoDPI revitalized its Scientific Review Committee to develop a coherent research agenda. DoDPI seeks to locate multiple sites around the country to support this initiative. In addition to providing funding to investigators, DoDPI offers temporary post-doctoral positions, visiting faculty positions, and possible sabbatical assignments to bolster its production. Moreover, it is looking to take advantage of the highest quality university labs and industrial technology that may have ideas on subjects of interest. Collaboration is not new to DoDPI. It has been awarding extramural research awards since 1987. This increased effort to collaborate is an adjustment in the strategic plan for increasing the amount of research to: (a) evaluate the validity of Psychophysiological Detection of Deception (PDD) techniques used by DoD; (b) investigate countermeasures and counter-countermeasures; and (c) conduct developmental research on PDD techniques, instrumentation, and analytic methods. While the Institute will evaluate all research proposals within its mission objectives, those which address the topics of Special Projects, New Technology, Applied Topics, PDD Data Analyses, and Deterrence receive priority.

On May 13, 1999, operational responsibilities for DoDPI were placed under DSS in accordance with DoD Directive 5105.42. This change made DoDPI part of DSS. As part of the Base Realignment and Closure, in June 1999, DoDPI moved to its present location at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Also in 1999, as a result of the JSC, 12 of the 13 members of the U.S. Security Policy Board Forum signed a memorandum of agreement to provide standardization of polygraph examinations in personnel security evaluation programs.

In December 2002, DoDPI was functionally transferred from the DSS to the newly established Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) in accordance with DoD Directive 5105.67, dated February 19, 2002. As of October 1, 2003, DoDPI was operationally under CIFA.

In January 2003, DoDPI was accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools to award a Certificate of Graduate Study in the Psychophysiological Detection of Deception.

On January 25, 2007, the Deputy Secretary of Defense signed a Directive renaming DoDPI the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment (DACA), a change that reflected a broadening of vision that includes all technologies useful in the assessment of credibility.

With the disestablishment of CIFA effective August 3, 2008, DACA transitioned under the operational control of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

The Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence recommended the redesignation of DACA as the National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA), stating "formal designation of DACA as a national center acknowledges Congressional recognition of DACA as the leader for federal credibility assessment issues and provides a clear focal point for this discipline within the federal government." The recommendation to designate the organization as the NCCA was approved by the Deputy Secretary for Defense on August 26, 2010.

On September 14, 2014, James Clapper, Director for National Intelligence, issued Security Executive Agent Directive 2 which designated NCCA as "the office of primary responsibility for polygraph examiner education and training, continuing education certification, audits of agencies' quality assurance programs against federal standards, and credibility research."


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