An Agent, Not a Mole: Assessing the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Forthcoming in Science and Public Policy
27 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2013
Date Written: June 5, 2013
This paper argues in favor of four criteria for assessing the performance of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) within the Executive Office of the U.S. President: trying to killing bad ideas (and sometimes succeeding), mobilizing expertise and confidence to support crisis response, identifying new issues and developing presidential policy initiatives, and catalyzing and coordinating multi-agency science and technology activities, especially in response to Presidential goals. These criteria are illustrated with episodes from OSTP’s history. They place OSTP in a variety of roles, ranging from disinterested broker of expertise to policy entrepreneur, but always as an agent of the President. Although a full assessment using these criteria may not be feasible due to data limitations, their identification is nonetheless valuable in order to spark scholarly debate and further research and to support planning by OSTP staff and their interlocutors inside and outside of government.
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