Startup: Setting the Agenda in OTA’s Early Years

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


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.


Technology Assessment Policy Recommendation Climate Technology Congressional Committee Committee Leadership 
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© Peter D. Blair 2013

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  • Peter D. Blair

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