The Department faced significant challenges due to the unusually long Continuing Resolution (CR), which extended until April 2007.  Under the CR the Department must act conservatively to ensure that obligations and costs are restrained in order to mitigate any negative impacts should actual appropriations differ significantly from planned and budgeted amounts. In addition, the Department is prohibited from engaging in any "new starts" for contracts or projects, which means that these activities are deferred until later in the year, thereby increasing the amount of uncosted balances at year-end since the costing cycle is, in essence, no longer on a fiscal year basis. This situation was further complicated by the final appropriations bill, which required new operating plans based on FY 2006 funding levels, thereby causing further misalignment of balances.