This report includes information on technological products released during FY1994, legislation in the 103rd Congress related to the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), and background information on OTA itself, among other things.
The primary purpose of this report is to identify options for enhancing the effectiveness of export controls in slowing or preventing the spread of capabilities to develop and produce weapons of mass destruction.
This report focuses on technologies to improve energy supply in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. The report is divided into two parts. The first part reviews energy supply technologies for fossil–fuel and nonfossil–based energy resources. In addition, it reviews the environmental consequences of energy production and consumption. The report highlights specific needs for U.S. technology and opportunities for U.S. business. The second part of the report is devoted to policy considerations. It describes the highly varied political, economic, and social context of reform. Next, it analyzes and catalogues Western energy–related assistance and investment programs for the region. The final chapter of the report presents policy options relating to energy supply and efficiency that will promote the achievement of U.S. political and economic goals.
This paper discusses the history and status of the ALMR research program. It presents applications of this technology to the plutonium disposition problem and the possible advantages and disadvantages of its future development and deployment. It also discusses related issues such as waste management and concerns about proliferation of plutonium material.
This report has four parts. The first part focuses on several factors that are necessary for substance abuse and addiction to occur, including an examination of the biological research regarding the phenomenon of addiction to a variety of substances. The second part describes individual risk and protective factors that contribute to the abuse of, and addiction to, alcohol and drugs. The third part, looks at how risk and protective factors play out in subcultures and in major activity settings (home, school, workplace, and recreation), and assesses the effectiveness of various substance abuse prevention initiatives. The fourth section, addresses a range of legislative issues and options for Congress arising from an understanding of the factors leading to substance abuse and addiction.
This paper describes briefly the work on DoD’s Kuwait Oil Fire Health Risk Assessment to date, including the results of a pilot study of health risks, and then answers the questions addressed to OTA in PL 102-585.
This paper deals with one of the most basic questions in any health research endeavor: how to measure the outcomes associated with whatever is being studied. The paper describes in greater detail some of the research techniques discussed.
This paper seeks to place the issue of climate change within an international context. Specifically, it addresses the feasibility of forging treaty agreements among countries to achieve significant worldwide reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases.
This report discusses the medical malpractice system that has frequently been cited as a contributor to increasing health care costs and has been targeted in many health care reform proposals as a potential source of savings. The report first examines the nature of defensive medicine, adopting a working definition of defensive medicine that embraces the complexity of the problem from both the physician and broader public policy perspectives. Finally, it comments on the potential impact of a variety of medical malpractice reforms on the practice of defensive medicine.
This report takes a strategic look at the development of electronic commerce and identifies the characteristics of the infrastructure that will be required to support it. The report found that, in an electronically networked economy, the design and underlying architecture of the global information infrastructure will have a major impact on national economic growth and development.
There are two longstanding constraints to implementing more energy efficient practices: 1) a shortage of finds to invest in efficient equipment; and 2) a lack of information for program planning and budgeting about the extent of investment opportunities and about the best finding mechanisms. This paper reviews advances made in addressing these constraints since 1991.
This OTA assessment reviews the status of federal government efforts to provide safe sanitation to Alaskan Natives and the technologies that have been used or proposed for this purpose. Finally, the report examines the legislative and institutional setting for the waste sanitation problems, and the criteria that need to be applied in selecting and implementing new technologies.
This report responds to requests by the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees to investigate the potential for civil-military integration and the implications of such integration. It is divided into six chapters and five appendices.
This report analyzes the case for developing a long-term, comprehensive strategic plan for civilian satellite remote sensing, and explores the elements of such a plan, if it were adopted. The report also enumerates many of the congressional decisions needed to ensure that future data needs will be satisfied.
This report finds both competitive challenges and opportunities from environmental concerns and industrial competitiveness for two sets of American industries affected by environmental regulation: those in the business of making and selling environmental technologies, and the manufacturing firms that are among their major customers.
This report focuses on policy issues in three areas: 1 ) national cryptography policy, including federal information processing standards and export controls; 2) guidance on safeguarding unclassified information in federal agencies; and 3) legal issues and information security, including electronic commerce, privacy, and intellectual property.
This paper examines what is known about administrative costs in the health care systems of the United States and several other countries. In addition to exploring the types of activities that constitute health care administration, it reviews studies that measure and compare these activities in different countries, and it explores the potential usefulness of such comparisons.
The report focuses on mental disabilities, a broad rubric. In this background paper, OTA examines current knowledge about psychiatric disabilities and employment in the context of the ADA’s requirements and reviews Federal activities directly or indirectly aimed at supporting the ADA’s employment provisions.
This paper describes the existing public information about osteoporosis and discusses problems that limit its usefulness, including problems in the dissemination and targeting of information to different types of people who have or are at risk of the disease. It also discusses problems that arise because of the way research findings are presented in the mass media and the widespread dissemination of information about medications that are available on the market but have not been approved by the FDA for osteoporosis.
This report examines U.S. plans for managing the prodigious quantities of data expected from current, planned, and future remote sensing satellites. In particular, it explores the Earth Observing System Data and Information System, which NASA is developing to manage and process the data from its Earth Observing System of satellites. It also analyzes the factors affecting the growth of the market for privately generated remotely sensed data.
This Background Paper summarizes OTA’s findings with regard to the three questions asked based on the workshop discussion as well as background information and discussions with various individuals before and after the workshop.
This report focuses on energy use in U.S. transportation, which accounts for over 60 percent of U.S. oil consumption. The report attempts to put these opinions into context by examining the current status of the system and evaluating critical problems such as congestion, presenting forecasts of future energy use, making some pointed comparisons with European transportation, and describing and evaluating a range of options for saving energy.
This paper reviews how the United States compares with other developed countries on available health status measures, evaluates the validity of the data used to make such comparisons, and describes how international comparisons might be interpreted in the context of health care reform.
This paper emphasizes recent changes in the market for health care and health insurance in the Twin Cities, including the growth of managed care organizations, the growth of integrated delivery systems, the development of health insurance purchasing coalitions, and recent state health care reforms. The report concludes with a discussion of potential lessons from the Twin Cities for the health reform debate.
The report reviews data concerning the contribution of genetic factors to several severe mental disorders; described methodologies used in the studies, and broached several policy issues relevant to this area of research.
This report discusses globalization in perspective, U.S. technology policy in international economic perspective, and other aspects of technological developments. The most technologically sophisticated and economically significant sectors of the U.S. economy are now characterized by high levels of international production, foreign direct investment, trade among affiliated companies, and complex forms of international financial and technological collaboration.
This report examines an array of sustainable development definitions and discusses their common elements. Current agriculture, energy, and industry technologies are described as well as the strides being made in education, communication, and information technologies that could support sustainable development.
This background paper concludes that continued use of the radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) at Burnt Mountain entails low risk for the safety of maintenance workers and local populations and for the environment.
This report is the fifth publication from OTA’S assessment on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, examines the whole range of consequences for proliferation of the Soviet Union’s breakup.
This report looks behind the published estimates to examine analysts’ approaches to estimating future national health expenditures. In particular, the report appraises the analysts’ estimates of the potential effects of four provisions that may be key to modeling alternative reforms (government cost controls, managed competition and increased HMO enrollment, coverage for uninsured people, and administrative streamlining). The report compares assumptions in these areas to evidence from available research. The report also draws policy implications for congressional consideration.
This paper describes and evaluates the sources of variation in analysts’ estimates of the federal budget impacts of key reform provisions. The paper also discusses potential variations in the estimates of federal budget effects of the American Health Security Act and the Managed Competition Act, and of health reform proposals in general.
This report provides point estimates of the “access gap” in ambulatory health services contacts and inpatient hospital days per person using the best available data from three recent large national surveys of the U.S. population. The report also estimates the aggregate access gap for the U.S. and it estimates the implications for national health spending of providing universal health insurance coverage.
This paper describes applications of synthetic-environment technologies in simulating combat. This background paper is the first of several publications of the OTA’S assessment of combat modeling and simulation.
This background paper responds to section 408 of the 1990 amendments to the Perkins Act, which asks OTA to review activities to be undertaken by the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee (NOICC) to encourage the use of wage records from state unemployment insurance systems for purposes of conducting policy studies or monitoring the outcomes of vocational education.
This report includes statements form OTA Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Director, as well as TAAC Chairman. The report also discusses industry, commerce, and international security division, as well as health, life sciences and the environment division.
This report discusses the process for developing a comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention plan. Phase I established four general goals: 1) assess risks; 2) develop prevention technologies; 3) build p revention capacities; and 4) implement prevention programs. Phase II focused on four groups at increased risk for HIV infection: women and infants; injecting drug users; youth in high-risk situations; and men who have sex with men.
The paper has six major purposes, in order to analyze the uses of tests used in vocational programs, particularly those designed to measure broad technical skills, identify trends in vocational assessment, and identify policy issues relevant to improving test development and quality.
The report highlights some of the opportunities and challenges faced by a major federal agency in: 1 ) implementing the Administration’s “National Performance Review and “National Information Infrastructure” programs, and 2) addressing issues raised in OTA’s 1993 report Making Government Work: Electronic Delivery of Federal Services.
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