This paper describes why encryption was selected by Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space as the means for securing ATM networks. The ATM encryption testing program is part of an ATM network trial provided by Pacific Bell under the California Research Education Network (CalREN). The problem being addressed is the threat to data security which results when changing from a packet switched network infrastructure to a circuit switched ATM network backbone. As organizations move to high speed cell-based networks, there is a break down in the traditional security model which is designed to protect packet switched data networks from external attacks. This is due to the fact that most data security firewalls filter IP packets, restricting inbound and outbound protocols, e.g. ftp. ATM networks, based on cell-switching over virtual circuits, does not support this method for restricting access since the protocol information is not carried by each cell. ATM switches set up multiple virtual connections, thus there is no longer a single point of entry into the internal network. The problem is further complicated by the fact that ATM networks support high speed multi-media applications, including real time video and video teleconferencing which are incompatible with packet switched networks. The ability to restrict access to Lockheed Martin networks in support of both unclassified and classified communications is required before ATM network technology can be fully deployed. The Lockheed Martin CalREN ATM testbed provides the opportunity to test ATM encryption prototypes with actual applications to assess the viability of ATM encryption methodologies prior to installing large scale ATM networks. Two prototype ATM encryptors are being tested: (1) `MILKBUSH' a prototype encryptor developed by NSA for transmission of government classified data over ATM networks, and (2) a prototype ATM encryptor developed by Sandia National Labs in New Mexico, for the encryption of proprietary data.