Within days the majority of furloughed civilian defense department employees will return to work, according to an announcement made on Saturday by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. Defense department employees are the largest segment of the furloughed 800,000 federal employees, approximately 400,000 people. It is not clear how many of those would go back to work but it could be 300,000 or more. Secretary Hagel is using the newly signed into law Pay Our Military Act to end the furloughs of ‘most’ defense department employees. It could also mean some employees of defense contractors might also return to work. The Pentagon will provide more details in a press conference scheduled for today at 5:00.
“I expect us to significantly reduce – but not eliminate – civilian furloughs under this process,” Hagel said. “We will continueto try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible. 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.”