“How dare you ask me how I’m doing this week!”

On this week’s Defense Nerds Podcast, Military Times Deputy Editor Leo Shane and Defense News Capitol Hill Bureau Chief Joe Gould talk about the sudden and surprising departure of acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who withdrew his nomination for the top Pentagon post amid reports of past domestic violence incidents in his family.

The move puts Army Secretary Mark Esper as the newest candidate to be named the next permanent defense secretary, but also raises serious questions about the background check process for high-level administration nominees. The hosts also ask how Esper can stand out from the crowd during his time in office, given the standards set by Shanahan.

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Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.

Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.

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