Hagel Convenes Shutdown Powwow

At a meeting he convened on Monday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel thanked the service Secretaries and service Chiefs for quickly implementing his guidance to recall most Pentagon civilian employees from a temporary furlough. During the meeting, these leaders noted that critical Defense Department programs and benefits remain halted due to the partial federal government shutdown, despite the civilians’ recall and resumption of many activities, according to the Pentagon’s Oct. 7 release. For example, DOD does not currently have the authority to pay death gratuities for the survivors of service members killed in action, states the release. Further, emergency funding supporting commanders on the ground and intelligence activities remains unavailable, and service leaders are having to curtail training for units preparing to deploy, according to the release. Hagel also expressed his continued concern for the morale and welfare of the civilian workforce due to the pay losses and uncertainty it has endured in 2013.