A LEADER in the field of cyber security who spent 28 years in the RAF and protected the White House has been named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Group captain Andrew Gudgeon, who works at Nationwide, was awarded an OBE for his work strengthening and protecting the UK and US’s cyber security,

The 51-year-old, who lives in Wichelstowe, began his career in the RAF in 1988 and moved into network and cyber security in the early 1990s..

Andrew’s illustrious career has seen him move to the United States for two years in 2005 where he spent time at the White House and the home of the US military, the Pentagon.

Andrew, who was born in Cardiff said he was overwhelmed to receive his OBE.

“It was utter shock, amazement, I couldn’t believe it. The first thing I did was ring my wife and then tell my parents. It was a great Christmas present,” he said.

“I have never believed in security for security’s sake. The internet has evolved and grown since I began, it has become a global marketplace. I get a massive satisfaction from my work in strategy and I enjoy learning new things now as much as I did at the start of my career.”

During his almost 30 year career with the RAF Andrew quickly rose through the ranks to prominent positions such as chief of staff strategy and deputy director of cyber, crypt-key and information warfare capability development

He also spent time at Whitehall when he worked as a senior military policy advisor to the Cabinet Office between 2011 and 2014.

He was awarded the Meritorius Service Medal for his work preventing a cyber security attack on the Pentagon’s network which saved them £5bn.

“My father was in the RAF so I knew a bit about that world. I was studying for a degree when I spent some time with the RAF. I thought, this is where I want to be, I was awarded a scholarship and I haven’t looked back since,” he said.

Andrew said he remained most proud of the people he had worked with during his time in the military.

“The people that I have had the amazing privilege to work with and to see develop, those that I have been able to mentor and coach and that have done well, that makes me so proud. The ones I have seen develop into some of the best in the armed forces. It is all about the people in the armed forces.”

In July last year, as his time with the RAF drew to an end, Andrew took up his current role as a senior risk manager for cyber and resilience at Nationwide

He plans to celebrate his achievement with a two day stay in London with wife Natalie, son Thomas, 23 and daughter Megan, 14