The head of Air Force Special Operations Command, Lt. Gen. Michael Wooley, told defense reporters Wednesday morning that any delay in funding would not begin affecting the command until August.
That's when "we start running into trouble," he said. He added that "the big thing is flying hours for us--that's when we run out."
The funding is being held up because Congress and President Bush disagree about setting timetables for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq.
Last week, another high-ranking military official, the deputy director of operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had a similar assessment, saying he had not yet observed any consequences from the delay.
Wooley also discussed personnel shortages, noting that "there are pockets" where special forces are manned at 70 percent, others in the "mid- to high 80s." He added that the command, for example, uses contractors to make up for lack of maintenance personnel.
He also said that the command needs more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or an "unblinking eye" over larger areas "down to a soda straw view." As it stands now, he said, there is "a great need for more unmanned sensor capability."
He also commented on reports of civilian deaths in bombings: "Our forces carry U.S. national policy in their rucksacks. It's a terrible thing when it goes afoul, as it has. We go to great lengths in special operations to have eyes on the target."