The secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force will donate to charity a portion of their salaries equal to the pay cut the Defense Department's civilians must absorb as part of the mandatory 14-day furlough.
Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, Army Secretary John McHugh and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus each chose to make a donation equal to about 5 percent of their pay to the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund to show support for the civilians that work for them.
The secretaries are not subject to the furlough, a mandatory unpaid leave of absence, but chose to donate a portion of their salary much like President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter each have announced earlier. Carter is believed to have started the trend.
The secretaries earn about $180,000. If they donate a portion equivalent to what a civilian will lose, the secretaries will each donate $9,692 to the charity that offers scholarships, emergency assistance and child care subsidies to federal workers.
Donley will make the donation as a "sign of solidarity with Air Force civilian employees being furloughed," said Maj. Megan Schafer, the Air Force secretary's spokeswoman.
"Secretary Mabus values the contributions of the civilian workers who are such a vital part of the Navy and the Marine Corps team and will honor their service and sacrifice by donating in their name to the Federal Employee Education and Assistance fund," said Capt. Pamela Kunze, the Navy secretary's spokeswoman.
McHugh has worked as a public servant his entire life and can understand the strain these furloughs will take on the civilian employees despite their "tremendous contributions," said Maj. Chris Kasker, the Army secretary's spokesman.
"He believes the best way to honor the service and sacrifice of Army civilians is by supporting the Federal Employee Education and Assistance fund," Kasker said.