TES-C Pilot Successful, Implemented as CBP’s Primary Testing Format
Since the inception of CBP’s polygraph program, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has utilized the standard Law Enforcement Pre-employment Test (LEPET) format for all applicant polygraph examinations. In reviewing all aspects of CBP’s hiring process, CBP identified redundancies that existed in its applicant screening among the LEPET, objective database verifications, and Tier 5 background investigation processes.
To streamline the applicant vetting process while maintaining CBP’s high integrity standards, OPR collaborated with the National Center for Credibility Assessment (NCCA), the federal entity responsible for credibility assessment education, oversight, certification, research and development. The collaboration resulted in the creation of the Test for Espionage, Sabotage, and Corruption (TES-C), which combined an approved NCCA counter-intelligence scope testing format with suitability topics found in the LEPET format that are relevant to CBP’s law enforcement mission.
Beginning on May 1, 2017, CBP conducted a six-month pilot of the TES-C format, during which CBP continuously evaluated data to gauge the pilot’s effectiveness for mitigating agency risk, as well as for reducing exam times. Throughout the pilot, CBP shared data with the NCCA and at the conclusion of the pilot, the NCCA conducted a comprehensive review. The NCCA determined that the TES-C meets federally mandated polygraph standards and adequately demonstrated efficacy as a personnel security screening technique for CBP counterintelligence and corruption issues.
Based on the results of the pilot, CBP concluded that the TES-C polygraph format reduced average exam times, the number of retests and revealed no appreciable difference in exam efficacy. The TES-C format appropriately balances CBP’s need to streamline the hiring process with the additional goal of minimizing any risk of degradation concerning applicant vetting. Effective May 1, 2018, CBP designated the TES-C as its standard polygraph testing format for all law enforcement job applicants.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.