If the federal government fails to increase the debt ceiling next week, work can still continue on defense contracts, Richard Ginman, director of defense procurement and acquisition policy at the Pentagon, said Wednesday. “The issue is not one of default,” Ginman told defense writers in Washington, D.C. “We have appropriations. The issue is cashflow.” If a payment is due to a contractor and the government is short of funds, Ginman said, invoices would be payable when the money became available, though “there may be interest” charged by the contractor. If there’s no new debt ceiling, “we can continue to write contracts,” said Ginman, but the day of payment would be in question, and not under the Pentagon’s control. “As revenues come in,” he noted, the issue will be for the Treasury Department, and not the Pentagon, “to determine what is the sequence in which we pay bills.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.