SCIP is a multinational standard for secure voice and data communication. The acronym stands for Secure Communications Interoperability Protocol. SCIP derived from the US Government FNBDT (Future Narrowband Digital Terminal) project after the US offered to share details of FNBDT with a number of other nations in 2003. SCIP supports a number of different modes, including national and multinational modes which employ different cryptography. Many nations and industries are actively developing SCIP devices to support the multinational and national modes of SCIP.
SCIP has to operate over the wide variety of communications systems, including commercial land line telephone, military radios, communication satellites, Voice over IP and the several different cellular telephone standards. Therefore it was designed to make no assumptions about the underlying channel other than a minimum bandwidth of 2400 Hz. It is similar to a dial-up modem in that once a connection is made, two SCIP phones first negotiate the parameters they need and then communicate in the best way possible.
US SCIP systems have been in use since 2001, beginning with the CONDOR secure cell phone. The standard is designed to cover wideband as well as narrowband voice and data security.
SCIP was designed by the Department of Defense Digital Voice Processor Consortium (DDVPC) in cooperation with the U.S. National Security Agency and is intended to solve problems with earlier NSA encryption systems for voice, including STU-III and STE which made assumptions about the underlying communication systems that prevented interoperability with more modern wireless systems. STE sets can be upgraded to work with SCIP, but STU-III cannot. This has led to some resistance since various government agencies already own over 350,000 STU-III telephones at a cost of several thousand dollars each.
There are several components to the SCIP standard: key management, voice compression, encryption and a signalling plan.
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... This device uses the FNBDT key and is used to securely send voice and data over the PSTN and ISDN communication systems ... provide secure frequency hopping Future Narrowband Digital Terminal (FNBDT) - Now referred to as the "Secure Communications Interoperability Protocol" (SCIP), the FNBDT is a replacement for ... The FNBDT/SCIP operates on the application layer of the ISO/OSI Reference Model, meaning that it can be used on top of different types of connections, regardless of the establishment ...
... Prior to this, SCIP specifications were not widely diffused or easily accessible ... This made the protocol for government use rather "opaque" outside governments or defense industries ...