Hagel: Most DOD Civilians Coming Back to Work

The Defense Department will ask “most”—but not all—of its civilian employees to return to work the week of Oct. 7, announced Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. DOD is calling back “employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities, and readiness of service members,” said Hagel in his Oct. 5 release. The services and other DOD components are now expeditiously identifying employees whose activities fall under these categories, he said. DOD last week had to place much of its civilian workforce on temporary furlough due to the partial federal government shutdown that began on Oct. 1. However, with President Obama’s signing of H.R. 3210, the Pay Our Military Act, on Sept. 30, Hagel said he immediately directed the Pentagon’s acting general counsel to determine, in consultation with the Justice Department, if the law permitted DOD to reduce the number of furloughed civilian personnel. While DOJ’s legal view is that the act does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians, it does permit employees to return who fall under those four categories, according to Hagel. He said DOD “will continue to try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible.”