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  Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
 Country: United States
 Collection: Office of Technology Assessment
Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)
The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) closed on September 29, 1995. During its 23-year history, OTA provided Congressional members and committees with analyses of the scientific and technological issues that were increasingly relevant to public policy and legislative action. The agency's legacy is found in the many items of legislation it influenced and in the channels of communication its staff helped foster between legislative policymakers and members of the scientific, technical, and business communities. The Office's legacy is also found in its hundreds of publications, gathered for the first time in electronic form on the set of 5 CD-ROMs: The OTA Legacy, 1972-1995. This Web site presents the complete contents of the five CD-ROMs with additional enhancements and features that facilitate access and retrieval.
Annual Report to the Congress: Fiscal Year 1995
This report includes statements by the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the board, TAAC Chairman, and the director of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). The report discusses the year in review regarding the work in progress, organization and operations of OTA.
Advanced Automotive Technology: Visions of a Super-Efficient Family Car
This report presents the results of the Office of Technology Assessment’s analysis of the prospects for developing automobiles that offer significant improvements in fuel economy and reduced emissions over the longer term (out to the year 2015). The report examines the likely costs and performance of a range of technologies and vehicle types, and the U.S. and foreign research and development programs for these technologies and vehicles (to allow completion of this study before OTA closed its doors, issues such as infrastructure development and market development--- critical to the successful commercialization of advanced vehicles-were not covered).
Adverse Reactions to HIV Vaccines: Medical, Ethical, and Legal Issues
The purpose of this background paper is to describe the current state of development of HIV vaccines, and to discuss what is known about adverse reactions that may occur. The background paper provides an overview of ethical issues that arise in the conduct of HIV vaccine trials. The report also discusses alternatives to the current product liability system to encourage the development of HIV vaccines and to fairly compensate those who are harmed as a result of adverse reactions to the vaccine.
Assessing the Potential for Civil-Military Integration: Selected Case Studies
This paper presents material from three of the case studies undertaken during the assessment: flat panel displays, polymeric composites, and shipbuilding. The three cases illustrate both the opportunities and the challenges facing those designing policies to increase the level of civil–military integration (CMI).
Biologically Based Technologies for Pest Control
This report covers technologies ranging from enhanced biological control of pests by their natural predators and parasites to commercial formulations of microbial pesticides. These technologies are grounded in an understanding of pest biology and have a relatively low probability of harmful effects on human health or the environment.
Bringing Health Care Online: The Role of Information Technologies
This report identifies key technologies and shows how they are being used to communicate clinical information, simplify administration of health care delivery, assess the quality of health care, inform the decision-making of providers and administrators, and support delivery of health care at a distance.
Challenges for U.S. Agricultural Research Policy
This report focuses on new ways to finance, organize, and manage agricultural research to prepare the system for the challenges of the next century.
Cleaning Up Contaminated Wood-Treating Sites
This report reviews technologies available for hazardous waste cleanup at wood-treating sites throughout the United States. OTA found that there are many Superfund wood-treatment sites located in this country that are very similar in terms of the contaminants present and the options selected for cleanup.
Current Status of Federal Involvement in U.S. Aquaculture
The purpose of this paper is to provide information on technology issues of immediate importance to the U.S. aquaculture industry.
Distributed Interactive Simulation of Combat
This background paper complements OTA’s background paper, Virtual Reality and Technologies of Combat Simulation, which focuses on the human-computer interface technologies used in simulations.
Does Vocational Education Help the "Forgotten Half"?: Short-term Economic Consequences of High School Vocational Education for Non-College Students
This background paper uses very recent data to address that question for individuals just one year out of high school. The paper also presents data on the types of occupations that these young people engage in, and rough statistical correlations between those occupations and types of high-school-level vocational coursework.
Education and Technology: Future Visions
This paper summarizes the workshop discussion and contains the commissioned papers in their entirety. In June 1995, the contractors and a number of other prominent educators were invited to OTA for an all-day workshop to discuss these papers and the issues more broadly.
The Effectiveness of AIDS Prevention Efforts
The report discusses trends in numbers of AIDS cases, approaches to AIDS prevention--changing behavior, efforts designed for the American people as a whole, and preventing AIDS among different groups.
The Effectiveness of Research and Experimentation Tax Credits
This report assesses how well the research and experimentation R&E tax credit is currently understood, identifies inadequacies in the existing data and analyses, investigates implementation issues, considers the tax credit in the context of corporate R&D trends and Federal R&D policy more broadly, draws appropriate international comparisons, and specifies important avenues for further research.
Environmental Monitoring for Nuclear Safeguards
This report discusses the traditional mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s traditional mission, that is to detect the misuse of known nuclear materials and facilities addressed only part—and probably not the most important part—of the proliferation problem.
Environmental Policy Tools: A User's Guide
This report describes 12 policy tools, and how and where they are currently used. This “user’s guide” presents a framework to help decision-makers narrow down the choice of instruments for addressing a particular problem.
Federal Technology Transfer and the Human Genome Project
This report analyzes universities’, companies’, and researchers’ experiences and perspectives since enactment of federal laws to enhance technology transfer—especially as it pertains to research funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy, the agencies funding U.S. efforts in the Human Genome Project.
Fish Passage Technologies: Protection at Hydropower Facilities
This report describes technologies for fish passage, and those for protection against turbine entrainment and mortality, with an emphasis on FERC-licensed hydropower projects.
Flat Panel Displays in Perspective
This report addresses two issues. First, is the lack of a high-volume domestic FPD industry a cause for national concern? Why might having such an industry be important for the good of the nation? Second, if the government wishes to foster such an industry, what policies might be most effective?
Foreign Eligibility for U.S. Technology Funding
This paper addresses the question: What eligibility conditions should affiliates of foreign firms be required to meet before receiving financial assistance from the U.S. government?
Gauging Control Technology and Regulatory Impacts in Occupational Safety and Health: An Appraisal of OSHA's Analytic Approach
This report reviews the roles that analyses of control technology and regulatory impacts play in OSHA’s standard setting process, and evaluates the various methods and resources on which the agency draws in conducting these efforts. In addition, based on findings from close examinations of a number of OSHA’s past rule-makings, the report provides a critical appraisal of how well these analyses seem to be helping the agency achieve its basic occupational safety and health mission.
Global Communications: Opportunities for Trade and Aid
This report examines the question of how telecommunication related aid policies might be designed to support both United States trade and foreign aid goals.
Impact of Health Reform on Rural Areas: Lessons From the States
This paper examines: 1) the effects of insurance market reforms--measures intended to make the market more equitable, or to make health care more affordable to those without insurance 2) the effects of reforms aimed at the health care delivery system.
Impacts of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria: Thanks to penicillin-- He will come home!
This report discusses what is known about the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and describes research and development aimed at controlling those organisms. It concludes that efforts are necessary both to preserve the effectiveness of currently available antibiotics and to develop new antibiotics. It discusses issues that arise in these activities, and it presents options for taking action.
Improving the Prospects for Future International Peace Operations: Workshop Proceedings
In June 1995, OTA convened a workshop that brought together some of the world’s leading practitioners, academic experts, experienced diplomats, and leading technologists in order to study and discuss this issue. This report contains a summary of the results of the workshop, along with the original papers presented.
Information Technologies for the Control of Money Laundering
This report describes how analysts developed and evaluated a number of alternative configurations of technology that, combined with certain legal and institutional innovations, could greatly enhance the capability of law enforcement agencies to detect and prosecute money launders seeking to exploit U.S. financial institutions and wire transfer systems.
Innovation and Commercialization of Emerging Technologies
This background paper examines the complexities of innovation and commercialization in an attempt to demonstrate the linkages between science, technology, and innovation, and to highlight the growing importance of factors other than basic research in commercial success.
Issue Update on Information Security and Privacy in Network Environments
This paper updates and develops some key issues that OTA had identified in its earlier report, in light of recent developments in the private sector and in government.
Learning To Work: Making the Transition From School to Work
This reports shows that work-based learning has considerable promise but will be difficult to implement. The report discusses work-based learning that can potentially help students see the relevance of their academic studies later in life, allow students to explore career options, and help them develop needed occupational skills.
Nuclear Wastes in the Arctic: An Analysis of Arctic and Other Regional Impacts From Soviet Nuclear Contamination
This report examines the environmental and human health impacts from wastes dumped into the Arctic and North Pacific regions, from nuclear contaminants discharged into these environments, and from radioactive releases from both past and future nuclear activities in the region. The report presents what is known and unknown about this waste and contamination and how it may affect public health.
Occupational Training for Young People in the United Kingdom
The report discusses the problems of high unemployment among young people ages 16 through 19. This paper examines the youth training experiences of the United Kingdom over the last 30 years.
Reducing Earthquake Losses
This report assesses the state of the knowledge, identifies key future challenges in each of the three components of earthquake risk reduction—earth science, engineering, and implementation—and offers policy options to improve federal efforts.
Renewing Our Energy Future
This report evaluates the potential for cost-effective renewable energy in the coming decades and the actions that have to be taken to achieve the potential.
Risks to Students in School
This report takes one critical step—identifying and commenting on the available data—that may help in developing priorities for the use of limited resources to protect children from health and safety hazards in schools.
Screening and Testing Chemicals in Commerce
This paper comes from a workshop held by OTA in April 1995. The report reviews some of the many test technologies and techniques available for screening chemicals-in-commerce for toxicity.
Selected Technology Issues in U.S. Aquaculture
This report discusses different aquatic species that are produced in the United States, including various animal and plant ornamentals, species for environmental remediation, industrial and pharmaceutical feedstocks, and products for biomedical research.
Targeting Environmental Priorities in Agriculture: Reforming Program Strategies
The analysis in this report identifies priority environmental targets across the country for water quality, wildlife, and soil quality. A tripartite set of programs designed to lower cost and achieve more enduring solutions illustrates possible approaches to the targets.
The Technological Reshaping of Metropolitan America
This report examines new policy approaches that would focus on development of innovative strategies for economic revitalization of urban core areas (including central cities and inner suburbs); creation of partnerships between urban cores and industry, state governments, and suburban jurisdictions; and movement toward full pricing of development and infrastructure to reduce or eliminate price subsidies now encouraging dispersed development.
Technology and Policy for Suppressing Grain Dust Explosions in Storage Facilities
This report responds to the bipartisan request of the House Committee on Agriculture to assess alternative technologies with regard to their effectiveness in suppressing grain dust, the benefits and costs of each technology, and the costs of banning the use of water as a dust suppressant.
Wireless Technologies and the National Information Infrastructure
This report examines the role wireless technologies will play in the emerging National Information Infrastructure (NII) and identifies the challenges that policymakers, regulators, and wireless service providers will face as they begin to more closely integrate wireless systems with existing wireline networks. The report also discusses some of the technical and social implications of the widespread use of wireless technologies— paying particular attention to the profound changes that wireless systems may cause in patterns of mobility.
Coverage of Laser Technology by Health Insurers
This paper presents some empirical information on how insurers consider payment for new medical devices. It describes the survey results of medical directors affiliated with private health insurers about their coverage decisions using, as examples, three applications of lasers: laser angioplasty for opening narrowed or blocked coronary arteries; laser discectomy for treating herniated intervertebral discs; and photodynamic therapy (using a light–sensitive dye) for bladder cancer.
Effectiveness and Costs of Osteoporosis Screening and Hormone Replacement Therapy, Vol. I: Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
This paper assesses the medical benefits and costs of both screening and hormone replacement therapy. It is divided into two volumes. This volume presents the results of a model that estimates the cost per year of life gained from osteoporosis screening and hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women.
Effectiveness and Costs of Osteoporosis Screening and Hormone Replacement Therapy, Vol. II: Evidence on Benefits, Risks, and Costs
This paper assesses the medical benefits and costs of both screening and hormone replacement therapy. It is divided into two volumes. This volume provides the basis for the assumptions about the costs and effects of screening and hormonal replacement therapy used in the cost-effectiveness model.
The Lower Tiers of the Space Transportation Industrial Base
This background paper was prompted by a workshop held at OTA in early March 1995, at which a small group, representing a broad cross-section of lower-tier firms, discussed their views of the space transportation industry.
Telecommunications Technology and Native Americans: Opportunities and Challenges
The report discusses the opportunities for Native Americans to use telecommunications (including computer networking, videoconferencing, multimedia, digital and wireless technologies, and the like) in the realms of culture, education, health care, economic development, and governance.
Electronic Surveillance in a Digital Age
This background paper reviews the progress of the industry and the law enforcement agencies in implementing the Act since its approval in October 1994.
Environmental Technology: Analysis of Selected Federal R&D Programs
This report discusses estimates of environmental technology R&D spending, interagency coordination mechanisms, and major federal programs, including programs administered by the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, and several other agencies.
EPA Superfund Actions and ATSDR Public Health Data
This paper discusses how EPA sets Superfund cleanup priorities based on Superfund site health ranking data provided by ATSDR. It examines several parameters by which EPA site prioritization might be measured, including timeliness, cost, and use of special removal actions at the worst sites.
International Partnerships in Large Science Projects
This report assesses the factors that facilitate international partnerships in big science projects and those that, conversely, favor the pursuit of purely national projects. The paper also reviews and identifies several important issues to consider in structuring future collaborations.