U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel-Sept. 28, 2013
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel turns to listen to a question from the press aboard a military aircraft plane en route to South Korea from the U.S. Sept. 28. Reuters

The Pentagon will call back most of its civilian employees furloughed by the government shutdown in the coming week, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Saturday.

Hagel said in a statement that “most” of the Defense Department’s 400,000 furloughed civilian workers would be summoned to work, meaning at least 200,000 of them will be working again. They represent about one-quarter of the 800,000 federal employees temporarily out of work since the partial government shutdown began Tuesday.

Hagel made the decision based on the Pay Our Military Act, a bill passed last week by Congress and subsequently signed into law by President Barack Obama ensuring uniformed members of the military will still be paid during the shutdown.

Vague language in the bill exempts Defense Department civilians from furloughs as long as they provide direct support to the military, Pentagon lawyers said.