By Carlo Muñoz - 10/17/13 06:30 PM EDT
The government shutdown cost the Pentagon nearly $600 million, a top Defense Department official said Thursday. [WATCH VIDEO]
The losses were due to lost productivity during the 16-day shutdown, which furloughed the department's civilian workers in its first days.
The shutdown ended on Thursday.
Defense Secretary Chuck HagelChuck HagelHagel says NATO deployment could spark a new Cold War with Russia Overnight Defense: House panel unveils 5B defense spending bill Hagel to next president: We need to sit down with Putin MORE slammed Congress for the disruption and uncertainty heaped onto the department's civilian corps during the shutdown
"We cannot continue to keep doing this to our people," Hagel said, noting the back-to-back furloughs the Pentagon initiated as a result of sequestration and the shutdown.
"Good people will leave the government" because of that uncertainty, Hagel said.
"They are not going to put up with this . . . we have got to have some certainty here," the Pentagon chief added.
The Defense Department's losses would have been larger, officials said, if the Pentagon's civilian workforce had not been recalled four days into the shutdown.
Republicans argued they never should have been furloughed under legislation approved before the shutdown began, but the administration initially disagreed.