My overall stats for the blog is 1,174,476 visits with 901,456 unique visitors and 1,832,601 page views between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2012. (My first post was on the 22nd of January, 2008)

The statistics for this year alone are 379,064 visits with 642,625 page views. My mobile traffic really jumped up this year to 62,642 visits. (last year was 24,792) The top mobile devices used to peruse this site were Apple products like the iPhone or iPad. For Android based mobile devices, the Motorola based platforms seem to be popular.
I am very pleased with the progress of the blog and the process that I have gone through over the years. This is pure Kaizen and it is fun to see how the site and my writing style has evolved over the years.

Now for some of the highlights of the year. 2012 was a year where the wars began to draw down and contractors/companies have had to adjust. With that said, work has been steady and for the transition in the war zones, contractors have been essential. From training, to maintaining the toys that we have given Iraq and Afghanistan, to protecting folks who still have an interest in those countries–business is steady.

As for solid numbers, the last USCENTCOM AOR Contractor Support report listed 137,407 contractors. In Iraq, there was an increase in contractor use (WPS and support), and in Afghanistan we saw an increase in the use of US security contractors.

The increase in Iraq is due to the fact that there are no more military units to back up DoS and their missions, so contractors and the host nation have to take up the slack–which they are doing.

In Afghanistan, even with this new APPF force, we are seeing an increase in the use of a specific type of contractor–the US security contractor. The reasoning there is probable the whole green on blue or insider attacks deal, and cost. We are seeing companies like Triple Canopy taking on FOB security, using American contractors.

And speaking of the APPF force, I have been commenting on how pathetic that force is, and especially as the money dries up for Karzai and company. Just watch when they start playing around with salaries or taking from the operational accounts of the APPF? They will also be forcing companies to use this government controlled force, and I just do not have much optimism that it will be effective, or for that matter, survive it’s corrupt leaders.

For the maritime security industry, the big news is the glaring success of armed guards on boats. That, and the push towards an ISO standard for maritime security companies. 2013 will be the year where we will see an ISO being applied, and it will be interesting to watch how it impacts the industry.

Africa has been front and center with many in the industry, and especially as the wars wind down. Erik Prince actually started an investment firm to focus on Africa and that continent has been mentioned by many companies as far as future market planning.

The economic woes this last year really pumped up this industry. With less money going towards police because of a lack of revenue, and especially in the US, local companies and persons have increasingly had to turn to private security for protection. This increase in PMSC use was noted in this report that predicted that security services would reach $63.8 Billion in 2016! So security is a good market to be in.

Not only that, but because of some key incidents highlighting the importance of security–like the attack on a consulate in Libya or the Sandy Hook Massacre in Connecticut– we will see an increase in monies going towards ‘real security’ in schools or increases in security at overseas posts.

For my Building Snowmobiles category, probably my favorite post was either the EFP Quadrotor and or the General Hermann Balck post. Balck was significant because he was an inspiration to Boyd.

Another favorite category of mine is History, and many of my posts last year revolved around privateering. I did one post about Homer Lea and another one about the Apaches that were fun and really interesting to do.

On to my Legal News category, probably the most significant was the ongoing battles to get contractors released from prisons around the world, and the battle against the scam artists who give the industry a bad name. That and the ongoing efforts of the US government to create laws that will fix problems associated with contingency contracting.

For my Leadership category, the stuff written about G4S’s Nick Buckles and the Olympics fallout was the best. It is a profound example of what happens to a company when they do not care about good leadership out in the field. I also reviewed the impact of bad bosses and toxic leaders on organizations. There was also mention of those folks who are teaching and promoting good leadership–like Don Vandergriff’s Adaptive Leader or McChrystal’s Crosslead.

Jundism stayed steady this year with no big changes. Although I continue to see the concepts of Jundism work well when applied. You can also see what happens when the are not applied as you read through my posts in the Leadership section.

My favorite book this last year was the Apache Tactics 1830-86 book. One book I wanted to delve into but never did was the one on Homer Lea. I still want to check out One Ball Four Tracer, and that was a book that came out last year that is still on my long list.

Cool Stuff was another fun category. The Bug-A-Salt gun, used for killing flies was awesome. That and women rocked this year. From the Asgarda– the modern day Amazons in the Ukraine, to Lara Logan and her amazing speech on Afghanistan, women were the ‘cool stuff’ this last year. The entry of private industry into space with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket gets a mention as well. Very cool stuff…

Syria is one country that was front and center in the news. Lots of homemade weaponry, as well as captured weaponry are allowing the opposition to take on the government there. The Assad regime continues to hammer back and that whole thing is a mess. If chemical weapons are used, expect things to get from bad to worse there, with possible involvement of the west. Jihadists are also hijacking the war there, and I expect them to do just like they have done in other Arab Spring infected countries.

Mexico continues to be a problem, and this next year we will see if a new President there with a new strategy will have any impact?

Mali is another place of concern, just because the jihadists last year were able to capture the entire northern part of that country. That is a lot of territory, and the west is still trying to figure out what they will do. Some say a Somalia model will be applied to Mali, as far as intervention is concerned. Meanwhile, the jihadists continue to strengthen their defenses and do their damage.

Gear Review is another category that needs mention. My two favorite pieces of kit right now are the Surefire P2x Fury and the Safariland ALS holster.  Although as you can see below, Google Analytics show that my hearing protection posts and Doug’s review of Palladium Boots is tops.

Well, that is about it for 2012. If anyone has any memorable posts from last year that they liked, feel free to post in the comments section.  I might even make some edits to include stuff that I might of forgotten. -Matt

January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 -379,064 visited this site with 642,625 page views.

January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 -337,320 people visited this site, with 528,224 page views.

January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010 -307,256 people visited this site, with 436,213 page views.

January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009 -129,409 people visited this site, with 187,698 page views.

January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008 -21,427 people visited this site, with 37,841 page views.

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