Fedblog FedblogFedblog
Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Defunct Agency Still Missed


Newt Gingrich's rise in the presidential polling has prompted at least one commentator to join an old chorus bemoaning the loss 15 years ago of an agency once revered on Capitol Hill. The Office of Technology Assessment from 1972 to 1995 provided Congress with nonpartisan scientific studies of the impact of policy options.

With the rise of alternative knowledge sources on the Internet looming, the new Republican majority saw fit to defund (not technically abolish) it as part of its Contract with America -- a rare instance of a federal agency actually going out of business.

In in a blast at Gingrich's "lobotomy of Congress" in the Huffington Post on Tuesday, Lorelei Kelly, director of a communications hub called the New Strategic Security Initiative, writes of a "legislative knowledge gap" that is "especially debilitating for issues that require context, forecasting and expert judgment. This is a significant problem in the modern world, where congressional actions have global implications, but members fail to connect the dots," she writes.

"Notable staff losses included the Arms Control and Foreign Policy Caucus, the Office of Technology Assessment, and the bipartisan Democratic Study Group, a rapid response team of researchers. Shared committee staffs were slashed. Many experts at the Congressional Research Service left."

Given the current budget crunch, more such cuts may be in the offing.

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.