Operating Under a Continuing Resolution: A Limited Assessment of Effects on Defense Procurement Contract Awards
(Source: Rand; issued Jan 21, 2019)
By Stephanie Young, J. Michael Gilmore
As described in this report, the authors explored that operating under continuing resolutions (CRs) at the beginning of a fiscal year (FY), which has become the norm for the past several years, has led to delays and increased costs in U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) weapon procurement.

Purportedly, operating under a CR causes these effects by constraining initiation of activities not previously approved and funded. The authors used data drawn from successive President's budget submissions to compare projected and realized award dates and unit costs for 151 procurement awards that DoD made for FYs 2013 through 2015, which had the two longest CRs in recent history.

They also compared outcomes of procurement awards originally projected for FY 1999, which had only three weeks under CRs, with those for FYs 2013 through 2015. A qualitative analysis comparing anticipated and actual results of procurement awards about which DoD staff had expressed specific concern in light of CRs yielded mixed results but did not provide strong evidence that CRs are causing delays or cost increases. However, the limited approach also did not provide definitive evidence for a lack of their occurrence.

The results of this analysis should therefore not be interpreted as finding that concerns about operating under a CR are misplaced. Rather, to facilitate appropriate policy responses, the analysis should be considered a first, limited step toward developing an empirical basis for assessing the consequences of operating under a CR.


Click here for the full report (68 PDF pages) on the Rand Corp. website.

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