News | March 31, 2022

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Kathleen Gleason

By DLA Research and Development

Kathleen Gleason is a Defense Logistics Agency trailblazer. For 29 years, she has guided various organizations through the strategic planning and execution process, while advancing the agency’s mission and capabilities.

As a seasoned Research & Development strategic analyst and planner, Gleason works with program managers during the research, development, and test and evaluation process, in addition to conducting market research and reviewing cost and technical proposals for contracts. As R&D’s program budget review lead, she works closely with program managers on budgeting and advocates for the resources to support their leading-edge objectives.

Gleason earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

“As a communications major, I never thought I’d use so much math in my career,” she said.

A federal hiring freeze brought Gleason to DLA as a temporary office automation clerk. Once brought on permanently, she began building her experience in operational planning and finance across the agency. In 2008, Gleason was hand selected to serve as R&D’s first resource manager, where she has helped increase the impact of many R&D programs. She became so instrumental to R&D’s growth and progress that she was selected to serve as acting director twice.

“Kathleen is the critical link who ensures we evaluate new technologies and works hard to secure their funding,” DLA R&D Director David Koch said.

Gleason said she is pleased with the progress women have made in the federal workforce over the decades, noting that 30 percent of R&D’s program managers are now women.

“Initially, I was limited to administrative duties typically reserved for women,” she said. “It felt like I had to work harder than men to earn my coworkers’ confidence that I was capable of more than administrative tasks. I’m proud to see women continue to demonstrate our ability to contribute to all functional areas.”

Gleason views women’s history month as an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions women have made across society.

“In addition to our increasingly strong workplace presence, women often wear many hats as partners, mothers, and daughters – just to name a few,” she said. “I believe this fosters our unique ability to effectively multi-task and meaningfully contribute to our teams.”

Her inspirational journey from DLA office temp to two-time acting director is a testament to her clear vision, strong work ethic, and passion for the agency’s mission.

“Those who know me have long heard me say ‘R&D is the best team in DLA.’ She said. I mean that wholeheartedly and am truly honored to work alongside such incredible professionals and at a great agency.”