George Albert Reed, 51, a retired Air Force colonel who had been director of export management in Boeing Co.'s Crystal City office since 2001, died of pancreatic cancer May 5 at his home in Arlington.

Col. Reed was born in Berlin, where his father was stationed with the Army and his mother worked as a civilian for the Army. He pursued a lifelong interest in military history, receiving a bachelor's degree in English and history and a master's degree in history from the University of San Francisco. He received a master's degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1982 and, in 1986, a doctorate in history from Duke University.

He joined the Air Force in 1975 as a second lieutenant, starting as a launch control officer in missile operations in Grand Forks, N.D. He retired in 2001 with the rank of colonel. Over the years, he held a variety of assignments in force planning, political military affairs and space planning.

From 1993 to 1996, he served as military adviser to the office of the vice president on the Middle East and South Asia, arms control and nonproliferation, space, defense plans and policy.

In 1998, after serving one year as an executive fellow at the Brookings Institution, he was appointed chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels.

Col. Reed was a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Croix Militaire.

His interests included music, gardening and travel.

Col. Reed had lived in Northern Virginia off and on since 1985. He was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington and the Army and Navy Club.

His marriage to Adrian Begner ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 14 years, Margaret "Meg" Walker Ryan of Arlington; and his mother, Josephine Cotyk Reed of Columbus, Ohio.