Science and Technology:

Federal Efforts to Collect and Analyze Information on Foreign Science and Technology

T-RCED-93-8: Published: Feb 23, 1993. Publicly Released: Feb 23, 1993.

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GAO discussed the U.S. government's efforts to collect and assess information on foreign science and technology, focusing on: (1) the extent and nature of federal activities for gathering and analyzing information; (2) coordination of efforts to collect and monitor information; and (3) the usefulness of the available information to U.S. businesses. GAO noted that: (1) the government collected and analyzed information on foreign science and technology in support of agency missions; (2) the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) had extensive intelligence networks, but they generally restricted access to the information collected; (3) CIA and DOD, like most federal agencies, obtained most of their information from public sources, interviews, plant visits, and debriefings of government and company officials; (4) no central office was responsible for collection and monitoring of foreign scientific and technological data, although legislation mandated the establishment of such an office within the State Department; (5) some federal agencies attempted to coordinate their activities; (6) duplication and information gaps could continue without coordination of activities, although duplications are useful to verify the accuracy of information; (7) the usefulness of the information to U.S. businesses had not been determined; and (8) some agencies provided the public information through a central database, while other agencies were developing systems to disseminate information.

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