WASHINGTON—Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced that most of DoD’s civilians who have been placed on furloughs will return to work this week.
Hagel explained that the basis of his decision is the Pay Our Military Act, which was signed into law on Sept. 30th to protect military pay during the shutdown.
“The Department of Defense consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians,” he said in a written statement. “However, DoD and DoJ attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members.”
As a result of this Hagel said that he is now directing DoD to “move expeditiously to identify all employees whose activities fall under these categories.”
He said while he expects DoD to be able to “significantly reduce” civilian furloughs, not all furloughs will be eliminated.
“Ultimately, the surest way to end these damaging and irresponsible furloughs, and to enable us to fulfill our mission as a department, is for Congress to pass a budget and restore funds for the entire federal government,” he said.