warfighter
n. A person who fights in or plans a war; a military soldier or officer; a warrior.

Example Citation:
"Were seeing [geographic information systems] being deployed in every level of the defense domain, said David Swann, defense market manager for Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. of Redlands, Calif., one of the worlds largest GIS companies. Almost every defense decision has geography or terrain factored into it. Were seeing information technology generally, and GIS specifically, providing incredible support to the warfighter."
—James Schultz, "Combat Ready," Newsbytes, October 31, 2001

Earliest Citation:
"Truly preposterous is the suggestion that the single-warhead Midgetman missile, now under development, is somehow a 'good' weapon. A nuclear warfighter's dream because of its surgical military qualities, it will be a welcome addition to tomorrow's dangerous first-strike force."
—Mark O. Harfield, "A 'Plan' to End the Arms Race?," The New York Times, April 15, 1986

Notes:
If you search for today's word on the Web or in any news database, you get back a huge number of hits. And yet the word doesn't appear in any of my dictionaries (the OED has war-fighting) and it immediately struck me as new when I first saw it a few weeks ago. How can a word be both popular and obscure? The answer, at least in this case, seems to be that the word's popularity extends mostly to specific groups, such as the military (no surprise there), military hobbyists, and computer game players.

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