Annals of Science and Technology Policy > Vol 5 > Issue 2

Toward More Effective Science and Technology Advice for Congress: The Historical Roots and Pathways Forward

Peter D. Blair, George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government, USA, pblair2@gmu.edu
 
Suggested Citation
Peter D. Blair (2021), "Toward More Effective Science and Technology Advice for Congress: The Historical Roots and Pathways Forward", Annals of Science and Technology Policy: Vol. 5: No. 2, pp 91-246. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/110.00000022

Publication Date: 15 Apr 2021
© 2021 Peter D. Blair
 
Subjects
Legislatures,  Public policy,  Government,  American political development,  Technology Management and Strategy,  Performance measurement,  Strategic Management: Strategic management of technology and innovation
 

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In this article:
1. Introduction: The Roots of Science Advice to American Government
2. Science and Technology Advice to Congress: The Historical Experience
3. Comparing Organizational Approaches to Technology Assessment
4. Measuring Effectiveness of S&T Advice to Congress: Six Tests to Compare and Contrast Alternative Options
5. Sources of Advice to Congress: General Conclusions
6. Comparison with Other Analyses
7. The Bottom Line
A. FACA Section 15
B. OTA Act Public Law 92-484 92d Congress, H.R. 10243 October 13, 1972 An Act
C. Excerpts from the GAO Science, Technology, and Analytics (STAA) Team Strategic Plan
About the Author
References

Abstract

Science and technology (S&T) assessment designed to effectively inform Congress must be both credible and suitable to congressional needs. To be unimpeachably credible, it should be widely accepted as (1) authoritative, (2) objective, and (3) independent. To be suitable and well-matched to congressional needs, the advice must be (4) relevant, (5) useful, and (6) timely. For S&T advice today, Congress draws on many sources for advice but it created four organizations over the last century and a half to provide itself with different types S&T advice: (1) the National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, (2) the Congressional Research Service, (3) the former Office of Technology Assessment, and (4) the Government Accountability Office. This monograph traces the historical roots of S&T advice for Congress and chronicles the creation and evolution of these four organizations over the past half century. Key characteristics for providing effective S&T advice for Congress are defined and then used to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of these organizations today and to identify prospective organizational improvements in each to meet today’s needs.

DOI:10.1561/110.00000022
ISBN: 978-1-68083-802-2
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Table of contents:
1. Introduction: The Roots of Science Advice to American Government
2. Science and Technology Advice to Congress: The Historical Experience
3. Comparing Organizational Approaches to Technology Assessment
4. Measuring Effectiveness of S&T Advice to Congress: Six Tests to Compare and Contrast Alternative Options
5. Sources of Advice to Congress: General Conclusions
6. Comparison with Other Analyses
7. The Bottom Line
Appendices
A. FACA Section 15
B. OTA Act Public Law 92-484 92d Congress, H.R. 10243 October 13, 1972 An Act
C. Excerpts from the GAO Science, Technology, and Analytics (STAA) Team Strategic Plan
About the Author
References

Toward More Effective Science and Technology Advice for Congress: The Historical Roots and Pathways Forward

Toward More Effective Science and Technology Advice for Congress traces the historical roots of science and technology advice for Congress and chronicles the creation and evolution of the four organizations that provided this advice over the past half century -- (1) the National Research Council, (2) the Congressional Research Service, (3) the former Office of Technology Assessment, and (4) the Government Accountability Office. Key characteristics for providing effective S&T advice for Congress are defined and then used to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of these organizations today and to identify prospective organizational improvements in each to meet today’s needs.

 
ASTP-022