If you’ve worked for the government for any length of time – whether as a contractor or federal employee –the phrase “continuing resolution” is nothing new. And thanks to action (or perhaps inaction) this week we are are destined for another fiscal year to start in Continuing Resolution (CR) mode again with regards to the federal budget. This week President Obama signed a FY 2012 Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded through Nov. 18.
In these current times of major defense spending cuts and the looming cuts that are possible if the “Super-Committee” fails to do their job, I think a CR has more negative impact this year than any other year. Normally a CR keeps agencies and departments in the government from undertaking anything new or expanding capabilities. Many groups in the government operate under a limited percentage of the last year’s budget. In other words, business operates in status quo until they hear what the current budget will look like.
With the possibility of $600 billion in additional cuts hanging over the Pentagon like a black cloud, you can bet the bean counters won’t do anything to over-spend a budget they don’t have yet. That is a lot of trust and hope placed on the twelve members of Congress’ Super-Committee.
Had the 2012 budget been passed on time, many in the government would feel more confident to fund and embark on new initiatives and projects. Contracts could be awarded, new-hire postings could go up, and the work effort for the new year could progress.
The fiscal year starting on October 1st was like many in recent memory – a wait-and-see game, with government workers not performing to 100% efficiency and many efforts put on hold. Contracts will be held up, which will in turn impact contracting companies’ quarterly estimates and ability to hire new employees quickly.
No matter what happens, the uncertainty caused by not knowing our left and right limits on spending isn’t good for the performance or functioning of our government.
Are you feeling the effects of the continuing resolution in your office? Is it causing more uncertainty or doing its job of “continuity?”
Troy is an Army brat and the father of combat medic. He is also a retired Infantry Senior NCO with multiple combat tours, in addition to several stateside deployments. Since retiring, Troy has worked as an information technology consultant and contractor for the US Army. He serves on several task-forces and enjoys working with soldiers every day. Troy is also a recognized and multiple-award winning military blogger who writes at www.bouhammer.com, and a familiar person in many social media circles.