The Department of Defense (DoD) has practices in place to minimize the effects of funding that comes from a continuing resolution (CR), the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found, due to the agency starting 11 of the last 12 fiscal years under a CR.

DoD officials that GAO talked to said that “continuing resolutions can delay their ability to pay for goods or services and can lead to repetitive administrative tasks or incremental planning.”

According to the report, the DoD obligates a lower percentage of their total annual obligations in the first quarter of the fiscal year through fiscal years 2017 through 2020 as compared to other quarters.

“DoD officials stated both that the repetition and incremental planning required during a CR is not an effective or efficient way to operate, but that preparing for and operating under CRs have become routine in nature,” GAO wrote. “GAO identified three activities directly related to preparing for and operating under CRs: developing legislative anomaly proposals (i.e., requests for authority beyond the standard CR provisions), creating spending plans for various CR scenarios, and adjusting contracts to reflect CR funding availability.”

For fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2020, DoD civilian hiring slowed with fewer civilian personnel hired per day during CRs on average as opposed to non-CR periods. GAO also found, however, that civilian hiring fluctuates throughout the fiscal year, regardless of whether DoD is operating under a CR.

“There were also variations in the amount of annual hiring that took place during CRs within individual organizations,” GAO wrote. “In some cases, organizations hired all their civilians during the CR period, while other organizations hired few if any civilians during the same period.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.