Both national and industry media have lit up this week with stories on how a clash over whether or not to raise the US’ debt ceiling could cause at least a partial government shut down.  Should contractors be concerned?  Not yet, anyway.  The “extraordinary measures” taken this week by the Treasury Department have delayed any potential partial shutdown until late May or early June.  Business should continue normally for some time.  Contractors should work hard with their customers to get key acquisitions in place over the next four months.  The closer government gets to the “true” estimated June deadline, the more federal officials will have to review continuity of operations plans and communicate with their staffs on what could happen in the event that some federal accounts fall into default.  Such requirements will slow the pace of government, even if agencies end up not shutting down.  That is really the central question, too.  A debt default is different from a lack of appropriations.  Some government programs will likely stop cold if no debt ceiling deal is reached, but many will remain on-line.  It’s hard to know where the chips may actually fall as a default has never occurred.  The prospect of one happening this year, though, is very real and contractors should definitely ensure that they understand what could happen and plan accordingly.  Communication with federal customers is essential to a contractor’s own continuity of operations plan.  While customers may not have a lot of answers now, the potential impact on operations should become clearer over the next 60-90 days.  A default is not a sure thing by any means.  There is always the chance that legislators could strike a deal, as they have previously done.  Still, the current Congressional climate is different now.  That means that contractors and customers should take the steps required to be prepared, no matter what actually happens.