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TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATIONS AND MANAGEMENT CONTROL,
WE HAVE CONSOLIDATED TWELVE REPORTING UNITS INTO THREE DIVISIONS,
TO ASSURE THAT PROJECTS APPROVED BY OTA'S BOARD ARE
IN ADDITION TO ACQUIRING TWO ADDITIONAL HIGHLY EXPERIENCED ASSISTANT DIRECTORS, TALENTED NEW STAFF PERSONS HAVE BEEN RECRUITED TO GIVE A NEW DIMENSION OF MANAGERIAL, TECHNICAL AND INTELLECTUAL SKILLS ACROSS THE BOARD AT OTA, AND TO PROVIDE THE HOLISTIC PERSPECTIVE REQUIRED TO ADDRESS
THROUGH THE EXPERIENCE GAINED IN THE PAST FIVE YEARS, OTA HAS LEARNED HOW TO EFFECTIVELY CARRY OUT ITS ASSIGNMENT AND IS NOW WELL EQUIPPED TO BE OF INCREASING VALUE TO THE CONGRESS.
THE GROWING NEEDS TO RESTRAIN THE GROWTH OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET CALLS FOR INCREASED ATTENTION TO IMPROVED DECISION-MAKING SO THAT THE DOLLARS ARE EXPENDED MORE EFFECTIVELY. OTA HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE A VALUABLE TOOL IN HELPING CONGRESS IN ITS CHOICE OF GOALS AND PROGRAMS FOR MOST EFFECTIVELY SPENDING ITS HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. IN MY VIEW, THE INVESTMENT IN OTA WILL PROVIDE A VERY HIGH RETURN TO OUR COUNTRY NOT ONLY FOR THE PRESENT BUT ESPECIALLY TO OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN.
IN DECEMBER 1978 THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, RESEARCH, AND TECHNOLOGY OF THE HOUSE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE ISSUED ITS REPORT COVERING ITS EXTENSIVE 1977-78 OVERSIGHT HEARINGS ON OTA. THE REPORT CONCLUDED:
"OTA HAS BEEN SET UP TO DO A JOB FOR THE CONGRESS
PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE IN PERFORMING ITS
THE SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN, REPRESENTATIVE RAY THORNTON, STATED THAT THE SURVEY "DOESN'T LEAVE MUCH DOUBT THAT THE OFFICE IS A VALUABLE ASSET TO THE CONGRESS."
TO IMPROVE OTA'S ABILITY TO RESPOND TO THE NEEDS OF CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES, WE HAVE INAUGURATED THE PROCEDURE OF MEETING WITH THE STAFFS OF ALL COMMITTEES, BY YEAR END WE HAD PRETTY MUCH COMPLETED THE FIRST ROUND OF SUCH MEETINGS.
IN AN EFFORT TO FULFILL TO A LARGER EXTENT OUR MANDATE TO PROVIDE THE CONGRESS WITH "EARLY INDICATIONS" OF THE BENEFICIAL AND ADVERSE IMPACTS OF TECHNOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS, WE UNDERTOOK IN THE SPRING OF 1978 A MAJOR PROGRAM TO DEVELOP A PRIORITY LIST OF ISSUES OF CRITICAL CONCERN TO THE U.S. AND THE WORLD THAT WERE NOT CURRENTLY UNDER STUDY BY OTA OR ANY OTHER LEGISLATIVE AGENCY. IN JANUARY 1979 WE PUBLISHED OUR FIRST SUCH LIST OF THIRTY TOPICS. A COPY IS ATTACHED. IT WAS DEVELOPED IN CONSULTATION WITH THE STAFFS OF COMMITTEES
ACCOUNTING OFFICE, CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE, AND MANY
IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT OTA'S RESOURCES WILL PERMIT IT TO INITIATE WORK ON NO MORE THAN 10 OF THESE ITEMS DURING 1979. THE OTHER 20 ITEMS WILL HAVE TO WAIT FOR CONSIDERATION IN 1980. A REVISED LIST WILL BE ISSUED AT THE START OF EACH
THE DOCUMENT, "OTA PRIORITIES -- 1979," ALSO CONTAINS A BRIEF WRITE-UP OF ALL CURRENT ACTIVITIES OF OUR OFFICE AND A LIST OF OUR COMPLETED ASSESSMENTS. YOU OR YOUR STAFF MAY FIND IT HELPFUL IN REVIEWING OUR WORK. IN ADDITION, I WOULD LIKE TO SUBMIT FOR THE RECORD ADDITIONAL MATERIAL DESCRIBING SOME OF
OTA'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS DURING THE PAST YEAR.
THIS CONCLUDES MY PREPARED REMARKS.
I WILL BE PLEASED
TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.
Mr. BENJAMIN. Mr. De Simone, will you go ahead and highlight that? We will appreciate it. Mr. UDALL. I will stay and participate, if I may.
REDUCED BUDGET REQUEST Mr. DE SIMONE. Mr. Chairman, the initial budget submission of OTA, as Chairman Udall indicated, requested $12.5 million for fiscal year 1980, plus 20 additional full-time staff. And as Chairman Udall indicated, that was reduced to $11.2 million because the board felt that we ought to hold the line and come to the Appropriations Subcommittee with a level funding request. Mr. Chairman, you have already made note of these revisions.
RECENT CHANGES IN OTA Before discussing the substance of our fiscal year 1980 budget request, I would like to make note of some of the changes that have taken place at OTA during the past year, highlighting the points made in Dr. Peterson's formal statement.
To improve communications and management control, OTA has been reorganized into three divisions, each headed by an assistant director. These divisions cover broad areas of responsibility, and are flexible to meet the changing needs of Congress. The three divisions are the Energy, Materials, and Global Security Division; the Health and Life Sciences Division; and, thirdly, the Science Information and Transportation Division.
To be sure that projects approved by OTA's board are delivered on time within cost and with high quality and technical excellence, new management and budgetary accounting procedures have been set up, as Chairman Udall indicated.
In addition to appointing three assistant directors, talented new staff persons have been recruited to augment managerial, technical, and intellectual skills across the board at OTA and to provide the holistic perspective required to address the long-term, comprehensive problems assigned to OTA.
Through the experience gained in the past 5 years, as Chairman Udall indicated, OTA has learned to effectively carry out its assignment. We have learned through experience how to avoid pitfalls and how to improve our operations, and we feel that we are well equipped at the present time to deal with the increasingly complex technological questions that come before the Congress.
The growing need to restrain the growth of the Federal budget calls for an increased attention to improved decisionmaking so that the dollars are expended more effectively. According to a recent evaluation, OTA has been a valuable tool in helping Congress in this decisionmaking. OVERSIGHT REPORT OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND
TECHNOLOGY Mr. Chairman, in December of 1978 the Subcommittee on Science, Research, and Technology of the House Science and Technology Committee issued its report covering the first extensive oversight evaluation of OTA. That report concluded, and I quote, Mr.