Today, I am announcing that most Coast Guard civilian personnel placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week.
Immediately after President Obama signed the Pay Our Military Act into law, I directed the DHS Office of the General Counsel and the Coast Guard Office of the Judge Advocate General to determine if the Coast Guard could reduce the number of civilian personnel furloughed due to the shutdown. The Department of Homeland Security consulted closely with the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice. We collectively concluded that the law does allow the Armed Services to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the capabilities, readiness, morale and well-being of service members.
I am directing the Coast Guard to move expeditiously to identify all employees whose activities fall under these categories. I expect us to be able to significantly reduce -- but not completely eliminate -- Coast Guard civilian furloughs under this process. The Coast Guard will initiate this process starting this weekend.
We have tried to exempt as many Coast Guard civilian personnel as possible from furloughs consistent with the law. We will continue to try to bring all Department of Homeland Security civilian employees back to work as soon as possible. The Department of Homeland Security is at its best when all our civilian personnel are on watch. Our men and women have devoted their lives to service of this country. Their work on our behalf, and on behalf of the Nation is enormously valuable and critical to the maintenance of Homeland Security over the long term.
I will continue to support our entire workforce and do everything I can to encourage Congress to restore funding for the Department of Homeland Security and the entire federal government so we all can get back to work and serve the American people.