After the Fall: Post OTA Efforts to Fill the Gap

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


When OTA suspended operations in 1995, a number of existing and new organizations sought to fill the gap. The congressional leadership’s assumption that CRS would take up OTA’s mission never materialized. In 2001 Congress asked GAO to experiment with technology assessment to gauge whether it could fill some of the gap. The experiment has continued although key structural weaknesses remain, such as the lack of a TAB-like structure to establish priorities in allocating resources and to tune to the congressional agenda. Direct connection to the congressional agenda is diluted further by the overwhelming scale of the balance of GAO’s auditing-style work. An expected increase in the use of the National Research Council in the wake of OTA’s closure was short-lived as well. NRC reports are of a different character than that of OTA reports, mainly due to differences in key features of the study processes used to produce them. Finally, cessation of OTA’s operations in 1995 stalled continuing development of technology assessment in the United States, but organizations modelled on OTA flourished in Europe.


Technology Assessment Advisory Panel Government Accountability Border Security National Research Council Report 
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© Peter D. Blair 2013

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  • Peter D. Blair

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