Most of the 400,000 furloughed civilian employees of the Department of Defense were summoned back to work this week by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, according to a written announcement released by the DOD.

Half of the Pentagon's civilian workforce was suspended Oct. 1 despite a last-minute measure drafted by Congress that allowed both civilians and active-duty servicemembers to receive their paychecks on time during the government shutdown, the Associated Press reported. 

According to the news source, Hagel, along with Defense Department lawyers, took a liberal interpretation of the newly passed military pay law – an action he promised he would take just days after the shutdown began.

The Defense Department also consulted the Department of Justice about the law, Hagel said in the DOD statement. While the DOJ legal counsel decided that the law does not allow a "blanket recall" of all the Pentagon's civilian employees, there was still good news to be had for suspended defense department workers. 

"Attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members," Hagel said. 

Under Secretary of Defense Robert F. Hale told CNN that about 90 percent of the Pentagon's furloughed civilian staff will be returning to work. Overall, 800,000 federal workers were furloughed last Tuesday, the news outlet reported.