The announcement affects some 650,000 Department of Defense employees who at one point faced as many as 22 furlough days due to budget cuts.
The American Federation of Government Employees applauded the announcement.
“AFGE has argued from the start that the Department of Defense furloughs were always the worst possible way for the department to absorb sequestration’s cuts,” President J. David Cox Sr. said in a written statement Tuesday. “The secretary’s announcement suggests that he has finally realized that furloughs are costly in terms of dollars, readiness, and morale.”
The series of automatic government spending cuts known as sequestration have been in place since March and caused more than $30 billion of shortfalls in the military’s budget, according to a press release from Mr. Hagel.