I support the idea of escort carriers and such because it only takes one or two well-positioned Liliths to turn an uber-expensive destroyer into scrap, thus killing off or orphaning dozens of fighters and bombers.
Smaller, more numerous carriers (Iceni-sized, 3-5 squadrons each) would solve this by keeping the eggs from being all in one basket, so to speak. Even if a destroyer gets pwned, there would still be sources of fighter cover. It would take the enemy far longer to root out the friendly force, particularly if guerrilla tactics are emphasized. I think, had the NTF lasted longer, they would have built light carriers of their own for this express purpose.
As another example, think of what would have happened in FS1 had the Bastion not been around to recover you in Deneb.