The United States is re-directing $10 million in Pentagon spending to help France fight terrorists in northern Africa.
President Obama issued the order Monday while on vacation at Martha's Vineyard, Mass.
"I hereby determine that an unforeseen emergency exists that requires immediate military assistance to France in its efforts to secure Mali, Niger and Chad from terrorists and violent extremists," Obama wrote in a memorandum.
France has launched a new operation against Islamist groups, sending some 3,000 troops to the Sahel region that includes the three countries identified by Obama.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the new authority "will be used for airlift and aerial refueling services requested by France to support their counter-terrorism operations."