Please understand that I do not want shields on UNSC forces either. Rather an ability that grants shields for a short period of time.
I understand why shields would be a hot topic, and after hearing about the previous controversy surrounding the shields topic I can understand the curtness of your reply. Please let me explain further because I believe an answer to both options are available.
There are many styles to play in order to win, with capital ship on capital ship being only one way. One way that the UNSC will lose. If you look at all the play styles, Aggressor, Fortifier, Research, Econ, and even Live player styles like Fighter Spam or Quick Colonization, one fact remains. The UNSC will lose.
If right now you disagree consider this. If a full stack UNSC enters a system with full Cov defenses, what is the first move? Unless you can take down the beacon before reinforcements arrive you have both defenses and offenses to destroy. That is Possible, until the Cov full stack arrives. Then your fleet is gone. They launch torpedos which are just as strong (near as makes no difference) to the MAC. Simple example but concise and true nonetheless. Any play style that the UNSC can use the Cov can use as well with the added benefit of permanent shields. Therein lies the balancing issue.
So by now you are thinking that this guy doesn't have a clue, or maybe that you are tired of hearing about shields. This I understand and like I said above previous controversy can predisposition anyone from hearing a good idea, especially if that idea has been changed implemented and changed back. That is why a ability for capital ships is a good compromise.
Those who would rather upgrade Nukes and offensive capabilities still can, while those looking for more ship defense can complete the high tier research to equip said ability. All Cov ships have permanent shield, while only UNSC capital ships would, at late game, have the ability to pop shields for a short time. As its an ability the computer would trigger 9/10 times It would be triggered too soon or too late, meaning it wouldn't be totally reliable on a tactics standpoint, and all UNSC frigates would still be shieldless. This would still require intensive management to work correctly.
I honestly believe these editions would both silence the majority of the haters, balance the playing field, and still allow for the UNSC to be the underdog that we all know and love.
Either way I will still love and play the Mod as it is fun and enjoyable.
All that I ask is that you think on the points I have made.