There are at least two positions regarding how could the AI in this game evolve:
A - Let us have more rules and we’ll program the perfect strategy.
B - Don’t overcomplicate the battle preparations with too many rules; make ship captains smarter by design.
However, never forgetting what autobattles + challenges can do for this game, both worlds can meet.
Think on the orders as two separated entities: “Orders” and “Rules”. Orders would be “Attack wounded ships”, “Protect this vessel” or stay in formation. Rules would be “Stay at 500 from cruisers”, “Shoot fighters” or “Don’t go beyond 300 of this ship”.
My suggestion is to separate the two types to leave Orders as “the commands a player gives ships during deployment, so they behave as planned” and rules as "the pieces to build new, more precise, orders.
The idea is to be perfectly able to play with pre-defined orders only, but to also have the chance to create new orders “programming” them with rules. That way, part of a challenge could be that a certain ship has an order that works better for any reason. And, even if the order creator doesn’t come to the forum to explain it, it could be added as a new order in a patch.
It’s somewhat of a way of letting the community evolve the captains’ AI while not forcing the casual players to understand a complex deployment.