The US Department of Defense has accepted Unisys's Stealth encryption prototype for review in a technical-evaluation programme. This is the first step in a process that could make Stealth a candidate for future use in secure IP-based communications across the military.

Unisys Stealth Solution for Network lets an organisation set up "communities of interest" through a group policy using Microsoft Active Directory, with session-specific encryption keys scrambling data that can only be decrypted by those belonging to each group. Stealth works to "bit-split" data into multiple packets and re-assemble it to authorised users, which alone can decrypt it.

"It's been approved by the US Joint Forces Command (USJFC) for testing and evaluation," said Dave Gardiner, vice president of technology solutions at Unisys, noting Stealth is undergoing the evaluation at the Joint Transformation Command for Intelligence (JTC-I) site in Suffolk, Virginia.

JTC-I assists the Pentagon in deciding future direction to boost interoperability across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The Stealth technology, which include a hardware4 module as well as software, will be tested for several months at the Joint Intelligence Laboratory there.

Unisys designed the cryptographic bit-splitting software specifically with the Department of Defense in mind because the DoD maintains separate security levels for communications, but this sometimes results in an awkward arrangement requiring multiple computers to communicate.

According to Unisys, The USJFCOM will be testing how well cryptographic bit-splitting method works as a way to converge DoD Global Information Grid networks operating at different security levels into a single network infrastructure. The goal is to let communities of interest co-exist while still maintaining complete isolation from each other.