By CHRIS RASMUSSEN, Fort Jackson LeaderNovember 18, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- One of Fort Jackson's organizations is changing its name to better reflect what it does.
The Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment will be renamed the National Center for Credibility Assessment during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m., today. The center provides graduate-level education in the operation of polygraph and other credibility technologies to 25 federal agencies.
"We are still DoD, but since we support every polygraph program in the federal government we are changing our name to show we are a national organization," said Bill Norris, the center's director. "In essence, we have been a national agency since 1995."
Only nine of the 25 agencies the center supports are defense organizations. First established in 1951 as the Army Polygraph School, the center has expanded its focus over the years to encompass all technologies that rely on physiological and behavioral measures to test for agreement between an individual's statements and memories.
"Most people think the polygraph is like in the movie "Meet the Parents," but it is actually a very structured process," Norris said, referring to a scene in the movie in which the character played by Robert De Niro is able to tell if someone is lying by holding his or her wrists.
In addition to providing education, the center is on the forefront of researching and developing new technologies that fit applications for which the polygraph is not suited, as well as improving the polygraph. The center also provides inspection oversight for all federal polygraph programs.
The center came to Fort Jackson in 1999 from Fort McClellan, Ala., when the installation closed due to BRAC. Named the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute at the time, the center was renamed the Defense Academy for Credibility Assessment in 2007.
"Being at Fort Jackson has been a perfect location for us because the Army provides us with BCT Soldiers to act as test subjects," Norris said. "Each student is able to have about 45 real life tests with Soldiers. We couldn't get our mission accomplished without help from Fort Jackson."
Students at the center must maintain a 3.0 GPA during the 3 1/2-month course and earn 15 graduate-level college credits. Following graduation, students complete a six-month to a year internship. Students return to the center every two years for 80 hours of continuing education.
The center also provides support to local and state law enforcement agencies on an as available basis and sends instructors to Iraq and Afghanistan to train military on the use of credibility assessment tools in the field.