The U.S. defense department is still one of the biggest users of BlackBerrys, according to a news release from the Pentagon.

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), which forges the military’s IT policies, said 80,000 BlackBerrys are covered under its unclassified mobility capability, a program that allows civilian and military staff to work on unclassified documents on wireless devices.

By comparison only 1,800 other devices – including Apple iPhones and iPads, Samsung Galaxy tablets and smart phones, and Motorola RAZR devices, are in the program.

Version 1.0 of the program will be deployed Jan. 31 and will support up to 100,000 mobile devices by the end of the year.
Last May DISA allowed Pentagon staff to use government-issued Apple devices running iOS6 and Samsung devices with its Knox-protected Android operating system along with the long-approved BlackBerrys. But it seems so far few mobile users are switching.

A number of business news Web sites — for example this report in Silicon Valley News from Bloomberg — noted that BlackBerry shares jumped after news of the announcement came out last week and the move has continued.

This morning BlackBerry shares were at $10.73 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Last week they were trading in the $9.30 range.

BlackBerry is struggling to turn itself around after the launch of its new Z- and Q-series handsets using the BlackBerry 10 operating system failed to create a quick leap in sales. After an abortive attempt to find investors to take the company private, the board agreed to an injection of cash and a new CEO to try an invigorate its strategy.

New CEO John Chen has vowed to focus its sales and marketing on enterprises. The first report card on his efforts comes out March 28 with the release of the company’s fourth quarter and fiscal year results.