tecting national security by deterring and detecting major security threats; and (2) to make these agencies fully aware of the strengths and limitations of the techniques they use. If the government continues to rely heavily on the polygraph in the national security arena, some of this research effort should be devoted to developing scientific knowledge that could put the polygraph on a firmer scientific foundation, develop alternative methods, or develop effective ways to combine techniques and methods. National security is best served by a broad research program on detecting and deterring security threats, not a narrow focus on polygraph research.
The research program should be open to supporting alternative ways of looking at the problems of deterrence and detection because there is no single research approach that clearly holds the most promise for meeting national security objectives. Thus, it might support research ranging from very basic work on fundamental psychological, physiological, social, and organizational processes related to deterring and detecting security threats to applied studies on implementing scientifically rooted methods in practical situations.
A substantial portion of our recommended expanded research program should be administered by an organization or organizations with no operational responsibility for detecting deception and no institutional commitment to using or training practitioners of a particular technique. The research program should follow accepted standards for scientific research, use rules and procedures designed to eliminate biases that might influence the findings, and operate under normal rules of scientific freedom and openness to the extent possible while protecting national security.
The mandate should be broad and should include both basic and applied research. The program should use standard scientific advisory and decision-making procedures, including external peer review of proposals, and should support research that is conducted and reviewed openly in the manner of other scientific research. Classified and restricted research should be limited only to matters of identifiable national security. Mission agencies might well continue to conduct implementation-focused research on detecting deception, but their work should be integrated with the broader research program proposed here.