In an unusual act of solidarity with the Pentagon’s civilian workforce, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the department’s deputy secretary, Ashton B. Carter, will return a share of their salaries to the federal Treasury for the same number of days that employees are docked because of furloughs. …

The defense secretary and deputy are exempt from furloughs because they are presidential appointees whose jobs require Senate confirmation. Their decision to return a portion of their salaries, pegged to the number of furlough days for civilian employees, was disclosed at a news conference on Tuesday by George Little, the Pentagon’s press secretary.

“I had a discussion shortly after he took office with the secretary, and he will voluntarily subject part of his salary to furlough levels even though he’s not required,” Mr. Little said. “He has committed to do that.”