Administrations come and go, but America’s pursuit of influence with foreign leaders and publics as central to our national security is surprisingly durable. As a case in point: the last five national security strategies, issued by Republican and Democratic leaders, underscored that the United States must sustain and renew its capacity to project influence on a global stage (White House, 2006, 2010, 2015, 2017, 2022). Starting with this end in mind, influence is fundamentally about changing the attitudes or behaviors of target audiences in ways that advance U.S. national interests. Strategic communications (SC) is critical to this endeavor, as it amplifies preferred messages, cultivates shared norms, and forges common bonds with foreign counterparts to “want what [America] wants” (Nye, 2011). As Cull (2022) argues in a companion paper to this one: reputation is not an “optional extra in diplomatic life, but a vital part of statecraft.” As we argue here, it is also instrumental to America’s ability to exert influence.