This publication, “Distribution Operations (Joint Publication 4-09),” provides doctrine for the planning, execution, and assessment of joint distribution operations. Distribution is a critical element of joint operations that enables projection and sustainment of military power, and is the operational process of synchronizing all elements of the logistic system to support the geographic combatant commander (GCC). It includes the ability to plan and execute movement of forces for deployment and redeployment as well as sustainment and retrograde. Military operations are conducted in a complex, interconnected, and global operational environment characterized by uncertainty; they are also distributed and conducted rapidly and simultaneously across multiple joint operations areas within a single theater or across boundaries of more than one GCC and can involve a variety of military forces, multinational and other government organizations. The joint logistics environment (JLE) within this operational environment consists of conditions, circumstances, and influences affecting employment of logistic capabilities at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war, and includes the full range of logistic capabilities, stakeholders, and end-to-end processes. Joint distribution operations are a subset of joint logistics. This publication has been prepared under the direction of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It sets forth joint doctrine to govern the activities and performance of the Armed Forces of the United States in joint operations and provides the doctrinal basis for interagency coordination and for US military involvement in multinational operations. It provides military guidance for the exercise of authority by combatant commanders and other joint force commanders (JFCs) and prescribes joint doctrine for operations, education, and training. It provides military guidance for use by the Armed Forces in preparing their appropriate plans. It is not the intent of this publication to restrict the authority of the JFC from organizing the force and executing the mission in a manner the JFC deems most appropriate to ensure unity of effort in the accomplishment of the overall objective. Joint doctrine established in this publication applies to the Joint Staff, commanders of combatant commands, subunified commands, joint task forces, subordinate components of these commands, the Services, and other support agencies and organizations. The guidance in this publication is authoritative; as such, this doctrine will be followed except when, in the judgment of the commander, exceptional circumstances dictate otherwise. If conflicts arise between the contents of this publication and the contents of Service publications, this publication will take precedence for the activities of joint forces unless the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, normally in coordination with the other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has provided more current and specific guidance. Commanders of forces operating as part of a multinational (alliance or coalition) military command should follow multinational doctrine and procedures ratified by the United States. For doctrine and procedures not ratified by the United States, commanders should evaluate and follow the multinational command’s doctrine and procedures, where applicable and consistent with US law, regulations, and doctrine.