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Export Controls and Nonproliferation Policy
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.
Federal Research and Technology for Aviation
This report focuses on research and technology policy issues for aviation operations: safety, security, environmental protection, and the air traffic system.
Fueling Reform: Energy Technologies for the Former East Bloc
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.
Hip Fracture Outcomes in People Age 50 and Over
This background paper is one of four documents resulting from OTA’s study of policy issues in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Studies of the Environmental Costs of Electricity
This report examines a set of environmental cost studies, compares and contrasts their methods and assumptions, and discusses how they could be made more useful to federal policy makers.
Technical Options for the Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor
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.
Technologies for Understanding and Preventing Substance Abuse and Addiction
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.
The Department of Defense Kuwait Oil Health Fire Risk Assessment (The "Persian Gulf Veterans' Registry")
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.
Tools for Evaluating Health Technologies: Five Background Papers
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.
Climate Treaties and Models: Issues in the International Management of Climate Change
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.
Defensive Medicine and Medical Malpractice
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.
Electronic Enterprises: Looking to the Future
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.
Energy Efficiency in Federal Facilities: Update on Funding and Potential Savings
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.
High-Temperature Superconductivity in Perspective
This is the second of two OTA assessments on the subject of high-temperature superconductivity (HTS). As the title suggests, this study attempts to put HTS in perspective, both in terms of competing technologies (e.g., the more mature low-temperature superconductors), and in terms of the many technical and economic problems that must be overcome before HTS can be widely used.
Holding the Edge: Maintaining the Defense Technology Base—Vol. II, Appendices
The report notes that America’s defense technology base has weathered significantly, with challenges to U.S. high-Technology firms from abroad, increasing dependence on foreign and civilian sources of technology for use in military systems, and growing technological sophistication of our adversaries.
Making Things Better: Competing in Manufacturing
This report considers ways to promote the restoration of American leadership in manufacturing technology. Some of the things that most need doing are up to industry— especially in handling people, from managers to engineers to shopfloor workers, and in forming stable, productive relationships between different segments of an industry complex. Government also has a critical role to play.
Neural Grafting: Repairing the Brain and Spinal Cord
This special report, the second of our neuroscience series, discusses the field of neural grafting into the brain and spinal cord to treat neurological disorders. It describes the technology of neural grafting, the neurological conditions that it may be used to treat, and the patient populations that are affected. Also, the legal and ethical issues raised by the development of neural grafting techniques are discussed. The report includes a range of options for congressional action related to the Federal funding of transplantation research using human fetal tissue, the adequacy of existing Federal laws and regulations regarding the use of human fetal tissue, and the role of the Federal Government in guiding the development and promoting the safety and efficacy of neural grafting procedures.
Neurotoxicity: Identifying and Controlling Poisons of the Nervous System
This Report, the first of the neuroscience series, discusses the risks posed by neurotoxic substances—substances that can adversely affect the nervous system—and evaluates the Federal research and regulatory programs now in place to address these risks.
Complex Cleanup: The Environmental Legacy of Nuclear Weapons Production
This report is a comprehensive look at the problem as we now know it, the public concerns about the problem, and DOE’s plans for addressing it. It focuses especially on the need for additional attention to those areas which DOE has neither the capability nor the credibility to handle.
Verification Technologies: Cooperative Aerial Surveillance in International Agreements
This report examines the potential and limitations of cooperative aerial surveillance as a means of supporting the goals of a variety of international agreements. It surveys the types of aircraft and sensors that might be used. It reviews the status of and issues raised by the Open Skies Treaty negotiations as an extended example of an aerial surveillance regime. The report concludes with a quantitative analysis of one possible use of cooperative over flights: the search for potential arms control violations.
Delivering the Goods: Public Works Technologies, Management, and Financing
This report identifies several immediate steps the Federal Government could take. First, new environmental standards, population shifts, and industrial changes have transformed the nature of many public works problems, and Federal programs must be refocused to fit the new circumstances. Second, if we expect to maintain our economic health, the Nation must increase its investment in public works, despite budget dilemmas.
Dioxin Treatment Technologies
This paper presents the status of national efforts to cleanup dioxin-contaminated sites and the technologies that have been used, proposed, and researched. It covers thermal and nonthermal treatment techniques as well as approaches such as stabilization and storage. It discusses the development of these technologies as well as advantages and disadvantages of their use.
The Big Picture: HDTV and High-Resolution Systems
A report on High Definition Television (HDTV. During 1989, HDTV moved from obscurity to center stage in the ongoing debate over the role of the Federal Government in U.S. industrial competitiveness. HDTV and related High-Resolution System (HRS) technologies in the computer and communications sectors may significantly impact U.S. electronics manufacturing, accelerate fundamental restructuring of the U.S. communications infrastructure, and provide a host of valuable services.
Children's Dental Services Under the Medicaid Program
The report discusses the oral health of children eligible for Medicaid, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Subcommittee on Health and the Environment requested OTA to determine whether children eligible for Medicaid are provided at least a minimum level of dental care. This study compares the dental manuals of seven State Medicaid programs with a set of “basic’ dental services (which comprise shared components of various well-accepted dental guidelines) to see if States allow these particular services.
Computer Software and Intellectual Property
This background paper examines existing intellectual-property protection for computer software-copyrights, patents, and trade secrets—and provides an overview of the often conflicting views and concerns of various stakeholders. It was prepared in response to a request from the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Administration of Justice of the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Confused Minds, Burdened Families: Finding Help for People With Alzheimer's and Other Dementias
This OTA report analyzes the problem of locating and arranging services for people with dementia, presents a framework for an effective system to connect them to appropriate services, and discusses congressional policy options for establishing such a system. One of the main policy issues is whether the system should serve people with dementia exclusively or serve people with other diseases and conditions as well.
Coping With an Oiled Sea
In the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in March, 1989, a myriad of investigations were initiated to evaluate the causes of that accident and to propose remedies. The Office of Technology Assessment was asked to study the Nation’s oil spill clean-up capabilities and to assess the technologies for responding to such catastrophic spills in the future.
Nonferrous Metals: Industry Structure
This report profiles the structures of four domestic nonferrous metals industries (copper, aluminurn, lead, and zinc) and the changes they have undergone since 1980. The study also outlines the U.S. position in the world markets.
Orbiting Debris: A Space Environmental Problem
This background paper, OTA sought the contributions of abroad spectrum of knowledgeable individuals and organizations. Some provided information, others reviewed drafts. OTA gratefully acknowledges their contributions of time and intellectual effort. As with all OTA studies, the content of this background paper is the sole responsibility of the Office of Technology Assessment and does not necessarily represent the views of our advisors or reviewers.
Physical Vulnerability of Electric Systems to Natural Disasters and Sabotage
This report offers an analysis of the vulnerability of electric power system specific equipment which is included in a separate appendix that is under classification review by the Department of Energy. This appendix will be made available only under appropriate safeguards by the Department of Energy.
Competing Economies: America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim
This report examines how the economic environment of the United States can be made more conducive to improving manufacturing performance. It considers how Federal institutions, in cooperation with industry, can develop competitiveness strategies for high-tech, fast growing industries; and how trade, financial, and technology policies could be combined into a strategic competitiveness policy.
Forest Service Planning: Setting Strategic Direction Under RPA
This report evaluates past RPA efforts, reviews the process used by the Forest Service in preparing the 1989 RPA Assessment and the Draft 1990 RPA Program, and identities options for improving RPA’s contribution to long-range planning and to policy and budget deliberations. The second OTA report on Forest Service planning will review national forest planning, and will examine the relationship between national planning under RPA and forest planning under NFMA.
Health Care in Rural America
This report is about access of people in rural America to basic health care services. This report focuses on trends in the availability of primary and acute health care in rural areas and factors affecting those trends.
Polar Prospects: A Minerals Treaty for Antarctica
This report identifies U.S. interests in Antarctica and evaluates the Minerals Convention relative to these interests. It examines the status of knowledge about the resources of Antarctica, the potential impacts of minerals development, and the technical, economic, environmental, geological, and political constraints to development in Antarctica.
Round Trip to Orbit: Human Spaceflight Alternatives
This special report examines a wide range of potential improvements to the Space Shuttle, explores the future of space transportation for humans, and presents policy options for congressional consideration. It is one of a series of products from abroad assessment of space transportation technologies undertaken by OTA, requested by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Rural Emergency Medical Services: special report
This report finds that many State EMS systems are fragmented and lacking resources to remedy EMS problems in rural areas. Many rural EMS programs lack specialized EMS providers, have inadequate EMS transportation and communications equipment, and are not part of a planned regional EMS system. The report describes the availability and distribution of emergency medical service (EMS) resources (e.g., personnel, transportation, facilities) and examines how limited Federal resources can be used to improve rural EMS. In addition, the report discusses how Federal EMS resources might be targeted to States’ rural areas.
Technologies for Reducing Dioxin in the Manufacture of Bleached Wood Pulp
As analytical technology improves, we are discovering dioxins associated with many products commonly found in the home and workplace. This report provides an assessment of these technologies; it does not address the policy issues related to regulating dioxin in paper products and controlling environmental release.
Technology Transfer to the United States: The MIT-Japan Science and Technology Program
On September 13, 1988, the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Japan Science and Technology Program (JSTP) held a one-day workshop to discuss MIT’s Japan Science and Technology Program’s internship program and its technical language workshop. This document gives a brief description the MIT-Japan Science and Technology of Program. It then reports the principal themes and issues raised at the workshop.
Plague of Locusts: Special Report
This is OTA’S fifth report on U.S. foreign aid and African agriculture and our most detailed look at one specific problem. The report provides a background on the unusual nature of grasshopper and locust problems, examine t e implications this has for the way problems are treated, then consider how U.S. contributions to the bilateral and multilateral control effort might be improved.
Access to Space: The Future of U.S. Space Transportation Systems
This report is the final, summarizing report in a series of products from a broad assessment of space transportation technologies undertaken by OTA for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Affordable Spacecraft: Design and Launch Alternatives
This background paper examines several proposals for reducing the costs of spacecraft and other payloads and describes launch systems for implementing them. It is one of a series of products of a broad assessment of space transportation technologies undertaken by OTA at the request of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer Policies for the 1990s: a special report of OTA's assessment on emerging agricultural technology: issues for the 1990s
This report addresses the central issues in the debate of the 1990 Farm Bill. It was requested as part of a larger study examining emerging agricultural technologies and related issues for the 1990s by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and the House Committee on Agriculture.
Arming Our Allies: Cooperation and Competition in Defense Technology
This Special Report is the frost product of OTA assessment of international collaboration in defense technology. It provides an overview of the subject and analyzes the impact that changes in the environment of defense technology and reduced East-West tensions will exert on defense industrial cooperation and associated alliance relations.
Beneath the Bottom Line: Agricultural Approaches To Reduce Agrichemical Contamination of Groundwater
The report discusses contamination of the hydrogeological system (a primer), technologies to improve nutrient and pest management, farmer decision-making and technical assistance to reduce agrichemical contamination of groundwater, and public influences on agrichemical contamination of groundwater.
Industrial and Commercial Cogeneration
A report by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that "describes the available and promising future cogeneration technologies, including their likely costs and operating characteristics, and reviews the potential applications for these technologies in industry, commercial buildings, and rural/agricultural areas" (p. iii).
Industrial Energy Use
An assessment by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) on the "prospects for energy efficiency in the U.S. industrial sector, the technologies available to improve industrial energy efficiency, and the effect of various legislative policies on stimulating increased efficiency" (p. iii).
The Information Content of Premanufacture Notices
A report by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that presents the analysis of pre-manufacture notices and "reports the results of analyzing those notices for the presence or absence of the information specified by the Toxic Substances Control Act and for other items of physical chemical and toxicity information that are useful for estimating potential health and environmental effects" (p. iii).
International Competitiveness in Electronics
An assessment by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that looks at the international competitiveness of the electronics technology industry.
World Population and Fertility Planning Technologies: The Next Twenty Years
A report by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that "covers the status of current and projected technologies that affect fertility change" (p. iii).
Agricultural Postharvest Technology and Marketing Economics Research
A technical memorandum by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that presents "findings and conclusions regarding the role of the public and private research participants in the PHTME (postharvest technology and marketing economics) research, the benefits and burdens of PHTME research, trends in PHTME research funding, quality of PHTME research, and management of PHTME research in the public sector (p. iii).