By James Bach

…”The problem with a CR is normally when you go into a CR you don’t have the ability to do any new programs or new starts or add funding to an existing program,” said Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a D.C.-based defense think tank. “You can continue the funding for a current program at the current level, which for a lot of programs is fine because … the amount of money you need maybe doesn’t change that much.”…

“What happens is you ramp up construction of a ship and the ship will start in one year and continue to be funded over several subsequent years,” Clark said. “You may need to change the amount and raise it up as you get into the bulk of the ship production.”…

…”You can still build whole airplanes, you’re just not building as many of them as you had originally planned, whereas a ship it’s just one big investment,” Clark said. “I can’t cut 20 percent out of the funding for a given year and have the ship still come out on time.”

The two principal shipbuilders, General Dynamics and Newport News-based Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. (NYSE: HII) and their subcontractors, would suffer from a protracted continuing resolution. There is some solace in the fact that Congress can provide additional funding through exceptions to the continuing resolution, but Clark said that might not be likely.

“Once the Congress lets one program get an exception, then the floodgates are open and we’re going to getting hundreds of these requests,” Clark said. “They generally don’t like giving exceptions to the CR language when it comes to the amount to a given program.”

Shipbuilders are also somewhat shielded from the most damaging effects of a continuing resolution because these kinds of temporary budget measures have “been the norm off-and-on for the last 20 years,” Clark said.

“The ship construction folks have figured this out and now they have all the contracts timed” for the second and third quarters of the fiscal year, Clark said…

Read more in the Washington Business Journal