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A new encryption chip of the US Army is in final testing. It may be destined for the service’s next-generation encryption fill device, other military services or possibly even the commercial sector. It could be inserted into any device that communicates back onto the network, whether that is a manpack radio, an unmanned aerial vehicle or robot, or even some of the weapon systems that have a transmitter.
The REprogrammable Single Chip Universal Encryptor (RESCUE) technology was developed to be a government-owned, general-purpose cryptographic module and architecture that is highly tailorable to counter emerging cryptographic threats. It uses standardized encryption algorithms designed by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Institute for Standards and Technology.
By moving to a standard, universal chip, the Army — and possibly other military services and organizations — should decrease the number and variety of cryptographic engine cores while increasing capabilities and reducing costs and timelines.
The RESCUE could be integrated into a wide array of communications devices such as radios, satellites and computers, as well as unmanned air and ground systems or even munitions that use or transmit encrypted information. The chip can modernize existing systems or be added to new systems in development, according to afcea.org.
When RESCUE is embedded into a system, that system also will have to go through NSA testing and certification, but because RESCUE has been there and done that, a process that can take years might be whittled down to a matter of months.
While no agreements have yet been completed, the other services and the U.S. Special Operations Command have shown interest.
Additionally, RESCUE could be included in the Army’s Next-Generation Load Device-Medium, or NGLD-M. A load device is used to update encryption codes for radios or other systems.