Sheperding In The Black Budget Sheep

What Is The Next Area 51?

As I sat down for a relaxing evening cup of tea and some social networking nirvana, I honestly wasn't expecting much. But suddenly, I found my Facebook page, Twitter account, and email completely flooded with messages from those who I have grown to call friends in the “UFO community”. Apparently, while I was at work, the C.I.A had disclosed the truth behind the secret military installation known the world over as Area 51.

Or had it?

The more links I clicked on, the more apparent it became that this wasn't so much a disclosure, as it was a mandatory release of information due to a freedom of information request by George Washington University. A batch of documents had been declassified and sent to the University's National Security archives. The report, in its entirety, spanned over 350 pages and was titled, “The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954 – 1974”. In a nutshell, this bible of spy-plane documents was basically telling us that top secret aircraft had been developed and tested at this military installation for decades, something we, who were familiar with this secret base, were quite aware of. And perhaps, even a smaller group of us even knew that a heavily redacted version of these documents had previously been published in 1992 and 1998 due to other requests through the F.O.I.A.

The Area 51 news was exciting, but not what many had hoped for. The pessimist theorists complained that this was just the C.I.A's way of shying away from the alleged testing of alien technology and crashed saucers that were being reverse engineered at the base. The optimist theorists saw a shining glimmer of hope that at last the installation was officially being not only acknowledged, but literally called Area 51 in official documents. Whatever the case, there was little new material in these documents, and it didn't even scratch the surface that the Northwest holds in its arsenal of military installations and top secret projects.

Area 51 made its debut to the public through a news broadcast in May of 1989. Bob Lazar, a physicist who claimed to have worked at the base, spun a controversial story about working on damaged flying saucers at a base about twenty minutes away from Area 51. In this extension, known as S4, Lazar claimed that he was employed to study the propulsion of these saucers, and reverse engineer the technology to help further advances in military aircraft. Lazar spent many years defending his claims, until he finally distanced himself from the UFO research community and of any talk about his experiences at S4 or Area 51. But to much surprise, he has recently resurfaced, and when asked about his thoughts on the release of documents in an interview with NBC News, Lazar responded by saying that “...anything dealing with alien technology took place at the S4 location, therefore no mention of such projects at Area 51 would occur.” He then went on to reiterate that the recent document release was … “a minuscule baby step forward. Maybe a decade from now, they’ll acknowledge there’s an S4."

Bob Lazar

Photo provided by Jeremy Corbell of

What the general public may not be aware of, is that bases similar to Area 51 are littered all across the United States and abroad. They just happen to do a much better job of staying in the shadows of their predecessor. In fact, some theorize that these bases are quietly preparing themselves to become the next Area 51 altogether. Two very well written books have recently been published about this very topic. 'Beyond Area 51' by Mack Maloney, and 'Keep Out!' by Nick Redfern, both shed light on a few deeply hidden and guarded bases both in the United States and abroad. I had the opportunity to speak to both authors about what they think may be the best possibility for an Area 52. I also spoke with Utah UFO Hunter, Dave Rosenfeld about just exactly what may be going on at Dugway Proving Grounds. Let's dig right in.

Tonopah Test Range

In Maloney's book, he goes into great depth about a base about 100 miles north of Area 51 known as the Tonopah Test Range. This base is primarily used for the testing of nuclear weapon stockpile reliability and nuclear weapon delivery systems. It also tests top secret aircraft. In a recent conversation with Maloney, he told me, “The F-117 Stealth fighter was flight-tested at Tonopah for ten years without anyone knowing about it. When the Stealths moved out a few years ago, some new top secret project moved in, but no one has a clue what it is. It's a very strange place. For instance, it's devoid of any UFO history, making it unique among many other top secret bases around the world. Why are no UFOs ever reported there? No one knows. There's a quote in Beyond Area 51 from a friend of mine who works with the US Intelligence services. He says: “In my business, people talk about Area 51 all the time. But no one ever talks about Tonopah.'” Could this be the perfect candidate for the secret testing of UFO technology? In the shadows, and out of the limelight, this base could very well hold secrets to the reverse engineering that Lazar claims may still be going on at S4.


When we look at the possibilities of military installations, we often look to the skies for our answers, prompting us to believe that these places are somehow connected to the Air Force. But there is one installation that Maloney claims may be an even better candidate for the next Area 51. But it is not what we can see in the skies, but what we can't see under the water. The Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) was constructed in 1954, off of Andros Island, one of many islands that encompass the Bahamas. According to Maloney's research, using the U.S. Navy's website, the mission of AUTEC is to “test and evaluate the operational assessment of war readiness in support of the full spectrum of maritime warfare.” 

When we look deeper at this assessment, the base boasts that it can “track up to sixty-three underwater targets simultaneously while its land-based radar systems can spot anything flying within five hundred nautical miles of the facility, up to heights of seventy thousand feet.” Fantastic in its technology, the base also has numerous UFO sightings attached to it, including one very dramatic case in 1985 when hundreds of people on New Providence Island, witnessed a huge craft leading a massive amount of smaller objects through the sky. To this day, no explanation has been given about this incident from the Navy or the Air Force. Similarly, many unidentified submerged objects (USO's) have been reported as well, thus prompting both Maloney and many others to look at this base as a possible underwater haven for the testing of unearthly technology.

Dugway Proving Grounds

Another base that has garnered recent attention for UFO activity can be found straddling the Nevada and Utah borders. This base is known as Dugway Proving Grounds. What makes this base unique is that, unlike most bases, it is in service to almost every branch of the U.S. Military. Strategically located between three massive mountain ranges, this base is deeply hidden from the public. It has been widely speculated that Dugway has tested applications and effects of every known biological, chemical, and radiological substance on the planet.

After speaking with Dave Rosenfeld, who heads up the Utah UFO Hunters Investigative Team (UUFOH), we can get a better sense of why this base may be one of the most viable candidates for testing UFO-related aircraft or biological material. Rosenfeld began researching and investigating the base in 1997. Since then, he has compiled a list of over thirty military contractors who, in conjunction with Dugway, are experimenting both chemical weapons and deadly agents at the facility. Because these contractors are private owners, they can do so in secret with no congressional oversight. Rosenfeld also explains that Dugway also “holds one of the largest runways in the United States, called MAAF, which has been used for numerous top secret aircraft and as a backup landing strip for a now-retired space shuttle.” 

Digging deeper into the history of this base, I found that in 2011, the facility was put under an extreme lockdown when the loss of an “extremely toxic nerve agent” was somehow lost and then recovered. This information could be found on several local news reports and by locals who were made aware of the situation by local authorities. Coincidentally, the same day, UFO reports were filed to said local authorities. Rosenfeld has also had many personal sightings of highly advanced aircraft and possible UFOs in and around the base. He went on the explain “ I have witnessed beam or plasma tests, invisible or cloaked vehicles and aircraft, orbs of light, disappearing convoys, military maneuvers, both aerial and ground-based, and UFOs. I also witnessed the Genesis probe crash land out there.”

If it weren't enough to hear from this dedicated Dugway researcher, Rosenfeld also appeared on an episode of the History Channel's series, UFO Hunters, which was solely dedicated to this highly restricted facility. There, Bill Birnes and his investigative team were stopped by Dugway security, interrogated, and threatened to have their video footage and photos confiscated. When asked if the facility had ever been known for UFO sightings or activity, the base's public affairs officer, Paula Nicholson, said that she had been asked that same question numerous times throughout her employment at Dugway, thus prompting us to assert that this isn't the first time the base has been put under scrutiny in relation to the UFO phenomenon. Something truly secretive and mysterious is obviously happening at Dugway, and as Rosenfeld continues to investigate, he assures us that strange things are still going on to this day at the facility. And with the highest restricted airspace in the United States, reaching beyond the earth's atmosphere, it's quite obvious that Dugway has very high standards for what it is testing, controlling, and most importantly; hiding.

Porton Down

When we think of secret military bases, the image of vast desert plains and never-ending mountains often invade our imagination. But in a higher populated, and much greener area of the U.K, there is a base that functions quite similarly to that of Dugway Proving Grounds in relation to the testing of biological warfare and exotic viruses. It also functions as a candidate for an Area 52 – type level of secrecy and possible connection to UFO back-engineering. Nick Redfern, author of 'Keep Out!', goes into great detail as to why he feels this may just be the case.

“If UFOs have crashed to Earth and alien bodies have been recovered, then clearly any recovered materials would have to be held and studied in secure locations ideal for the task. Being from the UK, I have spent a lot of time digging into claims that there have been more than a few “British Roswell’s” over the years. In relation to these claims, one secret facility surfaces time and time again. And that is Porton Down.”

Stemming all the way back to the 1940's, not only did this installation take on different names, but it also became steeped in more and more secrecy. In the late 1970's, the facility was placed under the control of a civil body, being known as the Center for Applied Microbiology and Research. Later, in 1995, it was absorbed into the Defense Evaluation and Research Agency. Then in late 1999, early 2000, the facility split into a private organization called QinetiQ, and also the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, the latter being an actual arm of the Ministry of Defense. To this day, it is officially known as DSTL, Porton Down.

Both the creation and evolution of Porton Down may be tedious and scattered in terms of ownership and true purpose, but Redfern strongly theorizes that if the UK were to be in possession of any sort of alien entity, whether alive or dead, that this could very well be the place it would be brought to for examination, and inevitable containment. Such could be the case for the controversial1974 UFO crash in North Wales. Redfern recounts, “The event polarizes the UFO research field in the UK into two camps: those who consider the case to be valid and those who believe it to be born out of misidentification, folklore, and myth-making. But what I find most interesting is that there are a number of stories, several coming from retired military personnel, of Porton Downplaying a major role in the North Wales affair. I have been able to track these rumors back to mid-1975, when, supposedly, a talkative soldier decided to confide in some of the villagers in the area where the craft was rumored to have come down.”

Perhaps the most famous UFO event in Britain is arguably that of the 1980 Rendlesham Forest incident, in which enlisted members of the U.S. Air Force witnessed strange lights and an actual solid craft coming down in the deeply wooded areas. Redfern went on to tell me that, “Through research obtained by investigator Georgina Bruni, she was told that shortly after the events, a team from Porton Down, dressed in hazmat outfits, entered the woods and removed something significant and possibly even extraterrestrial.


If what Redfern has researched on Porton Down is true, then Area 52 could very well not even sit on the same continent of its predecessor in Groom Lake. Or, according to Maloney, could Area 52 lay subtle in the shadows of Tonopah, or even underwater at AUTEC? And with such exotic aircraft and biological testing occurring at Dugway Proving Grounds, it only sparks more questions than answers for both Rosenfeld and others who frequent the borders of the facility to catch a glimpse of its mysterious activities. And who is to say that all of these locations aren't hiding different pieces to the extraterrestrial puzzle altogether? Could they have obtained different, or even identical aspects of downed UFOs, biological entities, and the further advancement of warfare through reverse engineering?

According to Bob Lazar, this is exactly why these types of facilities are created. With Lazar's unveiling of the purpose behind Area 51 many years ago, and with the recent documents officially acknowledging its existence, one thing is for certain; the moment the name, Area 51 was uttered from public lips, everything was already being swiftly and secretly moved to Area 52.

Ryan Sprague
Ryan Sprague

Ryan Sprague is the author of 'Somewhere in the Skies: A Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon'. He is also a UFO journalist, TV personality, and a podcaster. More at

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Sheperding In The Black Budget Sheep