Almost 28 months ago, I came across a Military.com article about the Army telling Soldiers they could use only government-issued magazines with their M4 carbines. In essence, they were told they could no longer — without violating orders, that is — use the widely-popular PMAG polymer M4 magazine manufactured by Magpul Industries Corp. Barely one month later, the ban was rescinded, according to this article, because it didn’t make sense. Now, it’s time to rescind another Defense Department ban on technology that doesn’t make sense.
In 2004, then-Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone declared the polygraph the only credibility assessment tool authorized for use by DoD personnel, but it didn’t take. They kept using one they liked, because it worked.
In 2007, then-Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. issued a nearly-identical order, and it was largely ignored.
Only after a third ban was issued — this one by Admiral Eric T. Olson, then-commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, in 2009 — were all challengers to the polygraph finally cast adrift.
Why did it take DoD leaders three tries to make warfighters stop using their preferred non-polygraph credibility assessment technology? Because those warfighters refused to give up a tool they knew worked best — in places like Baghdad and Guantanamo Bay.
Want to learn more about the non-polygraph technology warfighters refused to stop using? Details about it appear in my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo.