Early Game / Senate
If you happen to start in the senate, you'll want to make
lots of spies quickly. What I suggest if you want a quick
lead, is create lots of scientific spies, and send them at
the "New Orions". Most of the time, they'll either
die, or stop enemy research.
Now why would I do something that dumb?!
Relax, as in sometimes you might just get lucky in stealing
that new weapon system, or system / stardrive that'll help
you explore, or give that edge in defending that new colony
right next to one of your neighbours.