September 29, 1995
In 1972 the U.S. Congress, recognizing the importance for responsible legislating of unbiased expert information and analysis of major science and technology issues, established, by the enactment of Public Law 92-484, the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), an agency of the Legislative Branch. In the 23 years that followed, OTA developed an experienced and knowledgeable professional scientific staff and, with the help of thousands of national and international experts and stakeholders, created a process, a culture, and a body of work in response to requests from Congressional Committees and OTA’s bipartisan, bicameral Board of 12 Senators and Representatives.
The 104th Congress chose not to fund OTA’s work after September 30, 1995. As an important final responsibility, the management and staff of OTA undertook making available widely and in easily accessible form as complete a collection as possible of OTA’s formal reports to Congress. Not included in this collection are testimony, various memos and letters responding to informal questions, administrative reports and the like. The material presented here forms an historical archive, evidence of the evolution of OTA’s process, agenda and staff achievements, a collection of useful data, analyses, conclusions and options and a record of congressional interests. It also witnesses the value of a unique experiment of the United States Congress.
Roger C. Herdman
Director of the Office of Technology Assessment