Thousands of Metro Detroit furloughed civilian employees of the U.S. Defense Department received the green light to head back to work this week although the federal government remains mostly shut down.
Over the weekend, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reversed his earlier decision to furlough nearly all of the 350,000 civilian employees of the Defense Department. The move came after U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, and other members of Congress argued Hagel should reinstate active members of the National Guard under the Pay Our Military Act that President Barack Obama signed Sept. 30.
Most of the furloughed civilian employees at the U.S Army’s TACOM Life Cycle Management Command in Warren returned to work Monday, said Donald Jarosz, TACOM spokesman, but he couldn’t supply a specific number. About half of the 7,500 civilian workers were laid off last week.
TACOM provides direct support for the military as it buys, repairs and maintains weapon systems for soldiers.
At Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, the 650 civilian employees and military technicians of the 127th Wing were instructed to report to work on Tuesday, said spokesman TSgt. Dan Heaton. The order does not apply to the 127th Wing’s “traditional” members of the Air National Guard, who usually serve one weekend per month on duty
Heaton added all personnel are being advised that they could be furloughed again on or about Oct. 17, as a result of ongoing uncertainty with the federal budget.
The Pay Our Military law provides appropriations for specific purposes while the fiscal year 2014 budget hasn’t been approved, Jarosz said.