Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 4: Logistics

March 22, 2023 9:59 AM

The following is the latest edition of the U.S. Marine Corps doctrinal publication, MCDP 4: Logistics.

From the forward

This doctrinal publication focuses on logistics. It describes the theory and philosophy of military logistics as practiced by the United States Marine Corps. It provides Marines a conceptual framework for understanding how logistics is an essential aspect of every military operation. The Marine Corps’ view of logistics is based on our common understanding of the nature of war, our role in the joint force, and our warfighting philosophy as described in Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication (MCDP) 1, Warfighting.

This publication is a revision of the 1997 version of MCDP 4, Logistics. It places the time-tested, combat-proven principles outlined in the previous version in an updated warfighting context. As General A. M. Gray wrote, “like war itself, our approach to warfighting must evolve.”

This publication describes the role of logistics in a globally contested environment, within multiple domains, across the competition continuum. Marines must be able to operate when logistics is contested, which requires us to consider logistics opportunities and limitations in both force and operational planning. Professionals across all Marine Corps occupational fields must find innovative ways to move and sustain forces, experiment with alternative support methods, and train to conduct logistics in realistic conditions as cohesive units. Increasingly persistent and global threats reinforce the need to leverage strategic- and operational-level logistics to support Marines.

This publication is intended for all Marines. Logistics is a part of every military activity. Therefore, all Marines benefit by understanding the nature, theories, and design of the logistics enterprise. The more Marines understand how their needs are met by a complex network of systems and relationships, the better they will be at creating realistic plans, generating requirements, and using the network to build, position, and sustain the force. This understanding also helps develop support plans that shape and extend the endurance, reach, and survivability of Marine Corps forces.

This publication has a similar construct to MCDP 1, Warfighting. It is not intended to be a reference manual. It is designed to be read from cover to cover, and to be immediately applicable. This publication does not address specific techniques or procedures we should adopt. Rather, it provides broad guidance in the form of ideas, with historical lessons and realistic fictional illustrations intended to stimulate thinking and encourage additional learning. Reading, studying, and debating this publication with fellow Marines will enhance our understanding about the essential role logistics holds in our ability to meet any warfighting challenge.


David H. Berger
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps

Download the document here.

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