Hagel seeks to bring furloughed Defense Department civilians back to work
October 1st, 2013
03:10 PM ET

Hagel seeks to bring furloughed Defense Department civilians back to work

By Barbara Starr

Even as furloughed civilian Defense Department workers streamed out of the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel began working half a world away to get all 400,000 furloughed personnel globally back to work.

“Hagel is looking to get as many people back to work as soon as he can,” a senior defense official told CNN on Tuesday.

Hagel, who is traveling in Asia, hinted to reporters about what exactly he has in mind and it centers around a law quickly passed on Monday to keep troops and some essential civilian workers paid.

“Our lawyers are now looking through the law that the president signed, along with the Department of Justice lawyers and (the White House budget office), to see if there's any margin here or widening in the interpretation of the law regarding exempt versus non-exempt civilians,” he said.

“Our lawyers believe that maybe we can expand the exempt status. We don't know if that's the case, but we are exploring that, so that we could cut back from the furloughs some of the civilians that had to leave,” Hagel added.

Defense Department lawyers are looking specifically at language in the legislation they believe allows the secretary to pay civilians and contractors who provide support to the active duty military, the official said.

Previous legal precedents only allowed civilians to be paid who engaged in essential work supporting military operations or providing essential safety and security services.

“If you are not essential in supporting the military, what are you doing at the Department of Defense?” the official said.

Hagel said he did not know the exact time frame on when Pentagon officials would have a sense of the legal terrain.

“But it's a priority that we have and that we're working on right now. And it's, in fact, the priority in our general counsel's office. I think that gives you, at least, a general assessment of where we are,” he said.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    October 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  2. Jkhgf Fkgdt

    LITERALY WITH THEIR BACKS TO THE VETERANS

    October 2, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  3. Jkhgf Fkgdt

    MAKE NO MISTAKE: THE US MEMORIALS WERE PUT TOGETHER BY CITIZENS IN THE PRIVET SECTOR...UNDERSTAND...THE US FEDERAL GOV. PUPPETS OF ISRAEL USE THE MEMORIALS AS PHOTO-OPS FOR SELF SERVING PURPOSES...SO WHAT DO THE PUPPETS DO THEY CLOSE THE OPEN-AIR MEMORIALS TO DRAW ATTENTION TO THEIR SELF-CREATED CRISIS AND GET INFRONT OF THE CAMERAS WHILE NOT FACING THE REAL PROBLEMS

    October 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  4. Jkhgf Fkgdt

    CNN REPORTED: BASICALY: TO MY MIND: THAT THIS IMAGINARY GOV. SHUTDOWN HAS SHOWN THAT@ A VERY MINUMUM A BILLION DOLLARS A WEEK HAS BEEN WITHELD FROM THE U.S. PRIVET SECTOR SINCE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION NOTING THAT ONE BILLION DOLLARS IS THE PRICE-TAG FOR SYRIA WMD CLEAN-UP...DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM...IF THE U.S. GOV. RAN CASH FOR CLUNKERS ONE WEEK A MONTH THE PRIVET SECTOR WOULD BE MORE-BETTER. BUT OF COURSE THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN...AND SINCE IT WILL NOT HAPPEN HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT THAN THE ISRAELIE BUILD-UP OF THE MILLITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX...SEEING HOW THE ISREALIES RUN THE TRESURY & THE BANKS THAT INTENTIONALY CRASHED THE U.S. ECCONOMY IN 2008 FOR THEIR BAILOUT BONUSES.

    October 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Reply
  5. Jkhgf Fkgdt

    THE FAILED democracy of ISREAL IS NOT ONLY *NOT* FOUR THOUSAND YEARS OLD IT IS BARELY FOUR DECADES OLD...

    October 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  6. Jkhgf Fkgdt

    AGAIN I DO NOT GET PAID SO WHY IS IT THAT THOSE WHO DONT GET PAID SINCE THE IMAGINARY GOV. SHUTDOWN HAVE DISAPEARED...IT SEEMS TO ME LIKE THE UNPAID CONTRACTORS HAVE NOT BEEN SERVING MY INTERESTS AS A CITIZEN FOR MANY MANY YEARS BUT THEY HAVE WHEN PAID DESTROYED NOT ONLY MY WAY OF LIFE BUT ALSO EVERYONE I HAVE EVERY KNOWN INCLUDING WOULD BE FAMILY ALL WHO HAVE BEEN IN AMERICA FOR MIN. OF FIVE GENERATIONS...WHOS FAULT IS THAT?

    October 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  7. Jkhgf Fkgdt

    HAVE YOU NOTICED HOW QUITE THIS BLOG SERIES HAS BEEN SINCE THE IMAGINARY GOV. SHUTDOWN?

    October 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  8. Mutefh Ruhgd

    'Pure bull and you know it. Liar.' I SAY: REALLY, HOW SO...

    October 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  9. Jitre Dkhgd

    This seems to say multiple things & all are exspensive:.... 'Yes, but most are not (from my extensive experience) and many are prior service and work their butts off, putting in alot of overtime to ensure the JOB is done correctly.'....AGAIN I DONT GET PAID HAVE NOT GOTTEN PAID & HAVE HAD EVERYTHING TAKEN FROM ME...MY WAY OF LIFE WAS NOT PROTECTED BUT NOW THAT I DONT HAVE MY BASIC NEEDS MET & AM BLOCKED FROM THE PRIVET SECTOR BY THE GOV. & THEIR "LAWS" IN THE HOMELAND...I SEE ISRAEL GETTING PAID...REMEMBER THE US MILITARY HAS NEVER DEFEATED A NON-PAID ARMY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD @ ANY TIME. This is not a tin-foil hat discussion.

    October 2, 2013 at 10:06 am | Reply
  10. The GOP Solution

    The GOP Solution for EVERYTHING!!: Turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military........And don't forget the GOP all time favorite!!!..........TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!!

    October 2, 2013 at 9:12 am | Reply
    • Mark Gravelle

      Pure bull and you know it. Liar.

      October 2, 2013 at 11:10 am | Reply
      • George patton

        Is that you again Phunnie boy, this time posting under the name of Mark Gravelle? If so, thanks for not usurping my name as usual!!!

        October 2, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • George patton

      Good posting, The GOP Solution. Thank you.

      October 2, 2013 at 11:23 am | Reply
  11. ShiverMeTimbers

    American workers are out of work but Apartheid Israel will still get its American tax money.

    October 2, 2013 at 3:21 am | Reply
    • George patton

      Quite true ShiverMeTimbers, quite true indeed!

      October 2, 2013 at 11:26 am | Reply
  12. Gfhkhj Dsdfjh

    This is written in error: 'do not attack US targets at home or abroad'.

    October 1, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  13. Gfhkhj Dsdfjh

    correction: US do not attack the US.

    October 1, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  14. Gfhkhj Dsdfjh

    These Civilian contractors are just too exspensive and they don't seem to do anything meaningful. I don't get paid and never have and I am a Civilian. Just ask yourself why the US Military continues to attack the Homeland in so many ways. I ask that the US Military and their standing agencies do not attack US targets at home or abroad durring the imaginary Governmet "shut-down" honestly why sould that cost any money noting I am not looking to unknowingly step on anyones toes (so to speak). So let it be known I am on your side but not if your are not on "my-side/Americas side".

    October 1, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Reply
    • Trevor

      Active duty Major USAF 16 years, I would suggest not painting these civilian contractors with such a broad brush that they don't do anything meaningful... My unit down at Tyndall AFB, FL is unable to perform its job without the folks currently sitting at home, to include my previous job at Elmendorf AFB in AK. Are there some "slugs" in the civilian workforce,? Yes, but most are not (from my extensive experience) and many are prior service and work their butts off, putting in alot of overtime to ensure the JOB is done correctly.

      October 2, 2013 at 9:48 am | Reply
  15. simplefaith

    I am relieved to hear this news. As a retired Security Intell person, the Department of Defense civilian workers are mission essential. Pearl Harbor and other bases in Hawaii are run by civilian Defense employees. Totally afraid to be unmanned when we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Hopefully in the next election the American people will get the Republicans causing this shutdown out of office. It makes no sense to attach an amendment about the Obamacare Program. It is already in effect. Come on Republicans, get some sense into your brains before you are voted out of office.

    October 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • ShiverMeTimbers

      Some members of congress and the senate should go to prison for being Israeli shills

      October 2, 2013 at 3:23 am | Reply
      • U.S.M.C. 1371

        Your tinfoil hat is too tight again

        October 2, 2013 at 4:33 am |

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