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Startup: Setting the Agenda in OTA’s Early Years

  • Peter D. Blair
Chapter
  • 86 Downloads
Part of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy book series (STIPOL)

Abstract

OTA began carrying out formal technology assessments in 1974• 7he procedures for organizing and executing them were refined significantly over the agency’s history. Over time most OTA assessments were initiated by the leadership of congressional committees, although the organic legislation provided other means, including a short-lived attempt to create an “OTA Priorities” list. The urgency of the congressional agenda ultimately hastened a marginalization of the role for TAAC, originally designed as a means for providing external input on the design of prospective technology assessments, as well as essentially abandoning one of the original aspirations of the agency’s designers—assessments focused on long term, early warning of the implications of technology change. In the course of the very first of several OTA assessments, the culture of the agency became such that assessments would articulate the strengths and weaknesses of alternative policy options, often in great detail, but would seldom put forward specific policy recommendations.

Keywords

Technology Assessment Policy Recommendation Climate Technology Congressional Committee Committee Leadership 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Office of Technology Assessment, Drug Bioequivalence, NTIS order #PB-244862, July 1974.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Peter D. Blair, “Examining Our Science and Technology Enterprise,” American Scientist, Vol. 85, No. 1 (January/February), 1997, p. 74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 4.
    Office of Technology Assessment. 1975. Energy, the Economy, and Mass Transit, NTIS order #PB-250624, October 1975.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    John H. Gibbons, “Technology Assessment for the Congress,” The Bridge, National Academy of Engineering, Summer, 1984, pp. 2–8.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Barton Reppert, “OTA Emerges as Nonpartisan Player,” New York Times, January 5, 1988, Federal Page.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    See Gregory C. Kunkle, “New Challenge or the Past Revisited? The Office of Technology Assessment in Historical Context,” Technology in Society, Vol. 17, No. 2, 1995, pp. 175–196, reporting on Office of Technology Assessment, “Minutes of the Technology Assessment Board Meeting,” Washington, DC, February 20, 1974, p. 5 and February 2o, 1974> p. 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 9.
    Office of Technology Assessment, “OTA Priorities 1979, With Brief Descriptions of Priorities and of Assessments in Progress,” OTA-P-81, January, 1979.Google Scholar

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© Peter D. Blair 2013

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  • Peter D. Blair

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