Beleaguered mobile solution providers BlackBerry may be on its way towards reversing its fortunes. The company announced that the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded it Authority to Operate (ATO) status. This news, along with recent rumours that the company is entertaining the possibility of going private, has precipitated a spike in BlackBerry’s stock in an otherwise sluggish market.

The Canadian mobile device management provider is the first of its kind to obtain an ATO. The BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 smartphones with BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 are now authorized to run on the U.S. Department of Defence networks. With the ATO, the Defense Information Systems Agency is developing the infrastructure required to support 10,000 BlackBerry 10 smartphones by this fall, and 30,000 by the end of 2013.

“Being the first smartphones to be supported on U.S. Department of Defense networks further establishes BlackBerry’s proven and validated security model,” said Scott Totzke, senior vice president of the BlackBerry Security Group. “With foreign entities – governmental and criminal – ramping up attacks on electronic communications and information systems, BlackBerry provides government agencies with a proven partner that follows top-to-bottom security protocols.”

News of the ATO approval may provide a crucial boost for BlackBerry. The company has been struggling to revive its flagging market value, which has plummeted to $4.8 billion compared to $84 billion at its peak in 2008. Its share prices have also fallen more than 19 percent this year.