Technology Assessment, Office of

Technology-Assessment-Office-ofTechnology Assessment, Office of, or OTA, was an advisory agency of the United States Congress. It operated from 1972 to 1995. The agency gave congressional committees analyses of the potential of new technologies and their possible economic, environmental, and social effects. The OTA also pointed out areas that might have required legislative action. It published numerous documents each year to keep Congress and the public informed about the consequences of technological change. Topics studied by the OTA included biotechnology, communications, defense, education, energy, food, health, industrial competitiveness, natural resources, transportation, and world trade.

A congressional board established the agency’s policies and approved new studies. It consisted of six senators, six members of the House of Representatives, and the OTA director. The OTA relied on many experts outside the government for advice and information.