I'll admit to this being a random thought, but I keep hearing rumblings of revamping of the deep space encounters.
Here's my suggestion: Make the DSE's fixed points on the map. Not unlike the current fleet actions. Basically, there would be certain points on the map that would be "permanent" space battles. The inards could be the same as they are now (crazy blasting lots). Heck, you could make accolades out of hitting all of them.
Super-extra bonus points if the points moved on occasion (weekly, monthly, whatever).
Now Admiral Quinn can actually direct you to the front lines and you too can be a Veteran of the Battle of (Adjacent System)!
Or, change it so that players are not forced into a deep space encounter. They only enter if they click "Talk to enemy encounter" Similar to when the object is the red debris. The difference is that the enemy contact dose not draw a player into the area unless they want to. It would be more like the Breen patrol in the Defari Sector. This should change so that hihger level players can enter one of the contacts.