3. Security and Secrecy

Information acquired from HowStuffWorks

To say access to the base is limited is an understatement. The base and its activities are highly classified. The remote location helps keep the activities figuratively under the radar, as does the proximity to the NTS. After several land seizures, the base is surrounded by thousands of acres of empty desert landscape. The Air Force has withdrawn lands from public use to help keep the base hidden from snooping eyes. For many years, observers could hike to elevated vantage points like White Sides Peak or Freedom Ridge, but the Air Force seized those lands as well. Today, the only way you’ll catch a glimpse of the base in person (assuming you aren’t working there) is to take the strenuous hike to the top of Tikaboo Peak, which is 26 miles from the facility.

For many years, mapmakers wouldn’t include the facility on any maps. It fell within the borders of Nellis Air Force Range, but the road leading to the facility was never shown. Today, the location of the base is general knowledge, but for many years officials went to great lengths to obscure its location.

Everyone who works at Area 51, whether military or civilian, must sign an oath agreeing to keep everything a secret. Buildings at the site lack windows, preventing people from seeing anything not related to their own duties at the base. By some reports, different teams would work on similar projects at the same time, but their supervisors would keep each team ignorant of the other team’s project. When testing a secret aircraft, officials ordered all uninvolved employees to stay inside until the test flight was over and the aircraft returned to its hangar.

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