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Secure Communications Interoperability Protocol

The Secure Communications Interoperability Protocol, commonly abbreviated to SCIP, is a standard for secure voice and data communication, developed and endorsed by the Digital Voice Processor Consortium (DDVPC) of the US Department of Defense in cooperation with the National Security Agency (NSA). SCIP is based on the US Government's earlier Future Narrowband Digital Terminal (FNBDT) project, and is platform-independant as it makes no assumptions about the underlying hardware. The first SCIP devices were used in the US in 2001 (FNBDT).

The major success of SCIP however, came after the US decided to share the SCIP technology with a number of other nations in 2003. Since then, a wide range of SCIP-compatible devices have been developed in various countries. SCIP supports different modes of operation, including national (US) and multi-national modes with different types of encryption.

SCIP can be used over a variety of communication systems, such as PSTN telephone lines, ISDN, radio links, satellites, cellular phones and internet (Voice over IP, or VoIP). It was designed to make no assumptions about the underlying hardware. The only requirement is a minimum bandwidth of 2400 Hz. Once a SCIP device connects to another SCIP device, they first negiotiate the parameters and then choose the best possible mode of operation.

By migrating to SCIP, all systems for secure communication used by the US Government will eventually be compatible, which was not the case in the past when different systems were used. In 2006, an upgrade for Secure Teminal Equipment (STE) was released, making it SCIP compatible. The older STU-III secure phones can not be made SCIP compatible and have therefore been phased out in 2009. A good desciption of SCIP can be found on Wikipedia [1].

SCIP devices on this website
Secure Terminal Equipment
  1. Wikipedia, SCIP
    Secure Communications Interoperability Protocol

  2. Nato C3 Agency, Introduction to FNBDT
    Retrieved from website, December 2011.
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