Press Release

Reviving Office of Tech Assessment Would Not Boost Tech Expertise

In general, Congress appears to lack in-depth knowledge of tech issues, and some have proposed reviving the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) to strengthen congressional competence on these issues. AAF’s Director of Technology and Innovation Policy William Rinehart examines the history of the OTA and what its revived role could be today. He concludes that reviving the OTA shouldn’t be the first choice to boost Congress’s ability to legislate knowledgeably about tech issues.

His primary points are:

  • The relevant committees do seem to have expertise on tech issues, as they have produced thoughtful tech-focused legislation recently;
  • The OTA is not well-positioned to respond quickly to congressional inquiries; and
  • Other congressional resources, such as the Congressional Research Service and Government Accountability Office, are better positioned to provide the information Congress needs, and Congress should therefore focus its reform efforts there and not on the OTA.

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