This war dec idea touches on the following points:
It is critical that some low-effort, decent-reward solo activities are available to players in nullsec. This class of content gives players a reason to stay online if nobody else is around, and it's only by getting people to stay logged on that it stops being the case that nobody else is around.
For further discussion. To the extent that players have influence or control over the goings-on in NPC nullsec, they exercise this power collectively - all corps living in a given area have a say in policy. This provides an interesting alternative political dynamic, and encourages multiple corps with diverse objectives to live in the same bit of space and play nicely with their neighbours, which in turn prevents a small group of powerful corps from easily taking control and shaping policy to drive others out.
Easy to rebase
Groups running regular small fleets should find it pretty straightforward to move their base of operations. This allows them to "go where the action is", and allows any given part of the cluster to get a much more regular rotation of "local gangs", which in turn should lead to more combat variety for the average player on both sides of the fence (ie roaming groups and defense gangs).
Objectives and incentives
Smaller fleets moving through enemy space should always have something to do, and doing that something should make them feel like they've achieved something worthwhile even if they didn't get any actual fights. This means having things to do that are both satisfying and deliver some kind of long-term value (ideally things with tangible ISK-relative value as well as intangible strategic value) to offset the opportunity cost of a roam. We want people out PvPing, and if they're thinking "I wish I'd stayed at home and run missions" then something is wrong.
Interfere with larger ops
Smaller fleets should have some avenue via which they can have some impact on larger fleets, without just getting killed. There should be some sensible way to defend against this with some sensible amount of effort on the larger fleet's part. A smaller fleet should not feel that it simply has to run away from a larger one, but neither should it be able to have a disproportionate impact on a larger one.
Small-scale combat should be going on all the damn time. Set in the context of ongoing nullsec struggles, it's one of our strong points as a game, and we should be trying hard to enable it as much as possible.
Reward local knowledge
Doing research on and scouting of the area you're running fleets in, and getting a feel for the layout and the local quirks, should give you a small but noticeable advantage over other fleets without this knowledge. This tilts the advantage slightly in favor of the defender against random gangs, but allows aggressors to negate that advantage with some work. Furthermore, using this sort of knowledge makes people feel smart, which in turn makes them enjoy themselves more.
Frequent and big
A lot of players enjoy large-scale battles, and it remains one of our bigger draws in marketing terms. Large battles should be happening regularly (an average nullsec player should be able to get involved in at least a couple of fights this size each month, on average), and they should be big enough that players feel like they're involved in something really big (500+ a side).
Value for all
Everyone involved in this sort of fight should feel like they're glad they took the time and effort to get involved, and that it left them feeling satisfied. People should not be sitting at a starbase for three hours, warping into a fight and getting instapopped before they've really done anything. Winning and losing should matter, but taking part should be valuable too.