OTA: Mixing Technology and National Goals

by Emilio Q. Daddario, Director; Office of Technology Assessment, Washington, D.C.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1975, Vol. 45, Issue 12, Pg. 78-81

Document Type: Feature article


The need has developed for a broad multidisciplinary capability to assess technology, that is, to develop valid information about probable consequences, beneficial, harmful, or uncertain. Investigation of steam boiler explosions in the 19th Century, and/or secondary effects of dams and urban freeways in the 20th Century, were pioneer attempts to study unforeseen consequences and to define alternate methods. Congress created the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in October 1972 to provide multidisciplinary assistance and expertise in determining the effects of federal programs under consideration. Examples of how OTA operates are seen in case histories of its role in the Energy Research and Development (ERDA) programs and in the development of an OTA Oceans Assessment Program.

Subject Headings: Case studies | Explosions | Dams | Urban areas | Highways and roads | Federal government | Research and development | Seas and oceans

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