ESE sure is popular. >.>
But yeah, moving things behind the scenes you can make a larger difference as a player as most games would let you otherwise. It also open up a whole lot of "black ops" stuff, and you need to maintain a front as well, so three points for it already.
Most importantly perhaps, you can be doing this with a lot fewer people and ships, so you can focus on fewer characters and their relations and it still is fun and plausible.
It should also get you neat bleeding-edge gimmicks maybe, can't say that isn't something I want out of that. I liked the Freespace 2 arc with the intelligence agency missions for that a lot.^^
Only downside is that I kind of suck at sneaking in games. XD